I have never been more nervous than I was the day I got dropped off at the San Francisco International Airport for my first international flight to Spain. My experiences out of the country up to that point consisted of a trip to Canada as a child and a week-long Caribbean cruise for my high school graduation. The thought of spending six months in a foreign country in another language was a daunting one, and I was beyond overwhelmed. Six months of preparation and anticipation culminated as a knot in my stomach as I waited uneasily to board the plane. After a drink at the airport bar and a few second thoughts, I walked on to the flight that changed my life forever. Looking back, my semester in Alicante was the best decision I’ve ever made.
The benefits of studying abroad are too many to count. You learn valuable life skills like independence, critical thinking, and problem solving, and it is an incredible boost for confidence and self-esteem. It also makes you more attractive to potential employers ,whether you’re looking for a job in international business or not. It shows employers you can step outside of your comfort zone, take risks, and make your own decisions. By studying abroad you are actively shaping your own destiny and taking your future into your own hands. For me, my semester abroad sparked a passion for international travel that is like a fire inside of me that will never go out.
The time I spent learning and traveling abroad, I learned not only about other customs and cultures but also a great deal about myself. Like I’ve said before, I truly believe that the more you learn about the world, the more you learn about yourself. External exploration is the key to internal realization. How’s that for a tag line?
Are you thinking about studying abroad? Do you have a similar life-changing experience? Don’t be afraid to take that leap! I promise you won’t regret it. In all my experience I have never met a single person who regretted studying abroad. To the contrary, they’re addicted, just like I am. Study abroad wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me; it was a stellar beginning to traveling for the rest of my life.
Go out and see the world! Take the first step and look at some great programs for study abroad!
Photo Credit: abac.edu