Packing for the longest trip in your life, saying goodbye to your friends and family, hopping on your plane alone, wondering if you should try to speak with the person next to you and then realizing she doesn’t speak your language. After an eight-hour flight and two-hour line at the border, you’ve arrived. You’re there with your two heavy suitcases ready to explode, waiting for your Uber. The weather may be super cold, or extremely hot. In any case, it is clearly different than your hometown. Welcome to your new place! Now, what if I told you this was how the best experience in your life actually starts?
If there was one word that could define my experience studying abroad, it would be “adventure.” Meaning, it’ not easy. I have spent a whole year preparing for this journey. The amount of information to handle was a daily stress, and I was also quite worried about my bank account. Having to leave your loved ones to adapt to a completely new culture can also be tough. And what about the amount of work that you would have in a totally different educational system? Well, that’s what’s exciting in an adventure; if everything was easy, it would not be interesting or valuable. By overcoming those challenges, I have grown up, learned to handle problems by myself and adapt to the unknown. I have been away from my country for seven months now and I know that I am a completely different person. I have learned about the tiny elements that can make a culture different from my own and met new people who have completely opened my mind. Trust me, leaving your comfort zone may be the most difficult thing to do, but it is also the greatest thing that can happen to you. Indeed, having to face difficulties and adapt to a new environment is the best way to achieve great things. And what is farther from your comfort zone than another country? If you want to become a new person and change your life forever, I recommend finding the Center for International Programs.
This article was originally published in the March issue of The Teller Magazine.