With my re-entry into life in the states, my study abroad (and two extra weeks of travel) have come to a close. Leaving Europe was one of the hardest things about growing abroad because I knew my amazing time had to come to an end. And although I am no longer studying abroad, the experience itself still impacts my day to day life.
As I previously detailed, being abroad helped me grow and taught me a lot of lessons that influence how I live my life in the states. The amount of independence, new experiences, and immersion into a different culture thrusted me into a six week situation where I was able to adapt to the environment I was living and reflect on how I conduct myself back home. This chance to see and experience a different way of life was perhaps one of the best things I derived from studying abroad.
As I re-adjust to being back home, I am able to look back at the events of and leading up to my European adventure. I can say in much confidence that studying abroad was one of the best things I have ever done for myself, and I would not trade the experience for anything in the world. It is such an amazing opportunity to be exposed to, and to be able to study abroad at this age in our life is that much better. There will never be a better time to go because there is nothing holding me/people my age back. The hardest part, for me especially, in deciding to go abroad was contemplating whether it would be worth the money. I specifically remember about a month before leaving considering dropping out due to concerns about the cost and figuring I could just travel another time. I am beyond grateful that I did go. Studying abroad was worth every single penny and then some. The memories I made, the challenges I encountered, the friendships I developed, and the lessons I learned will last a lifetime.
Another surprising outcome of traveling abroad was that now that I have lived in a different country, I realize how doable traveling and perhaps even moving to another country is. Now that I have done it, I want to go back- the sooner the better. Instead of always saying “One day I would love to see Italy” or “when I’m older I want to see Greece” I now just know I want to work abroad. Having my foot out the door (studying abroad in Barcelona) gave me the push I needed to realize that I very easily could be travel in the years to come.
All in all studying abroad was the most impactful month of my life and cannot say or express enough how beyond grateful I am that I had the opportunity. The best piece of advice I could give to anyone considering studying abroad is to simply go out and do it. Yes, its expensive but it is worth the experience. Work hard to make sure studying abroad is possible, and if it is take the opportunity to do it because there is no better time in life than now to take the plunge.