It’s interesting that it’s called study abroad. Yes, of course I am enrolled in classes and studying but I don’t think that the ‘study’ in study abroad applies only to classes. Once the grand adventure has actually begun you quickly realize that every experience, every task you tackle and every person you meet is what is teaching you the most. I’ve learned off-beat facts, discovered unique spots and picked up how to carry one’s self in unknown areas but the most important thing that I’m learning an overwhelming amount things about is myself.
When it comes down to it I don’t think I will truly ever be done learning about myself, but when plopped in a land of opportunity surrounded by the unfamiliar, the learning curve is definitely expedited. Don’t get me wrong, not every single experience over here is necessarily good but that’s the beauty of the experience.
I’ve been lost several times, sometimes being more dangerous than others. I’ve butted heads with certain people. I’ve also been bitter about some of my experiences in my travels. At the same time getting lost teaches me the city, be it Prague or Paris, and the danger teaches me to take more precautions. Head butting teaches me how to properly deal with not the most ideal social situations and incidents and if I visit a city I don’t like I can better plan my future travels or home.
The good comes with the bad, that’s life and the only thing to do with this mixture is to sit down and ‘study’ it and reflect it back on yourself. I don’t regret any of the bad experiences (and I CERTAINLY don’t regret any of the good) they are all forming me. Sometimes I think I will return and my family and friends may say ‘you’re not the same person’ but that’s simply not true. My #1 goal of study abroad was to always stay true to myself and just because I am growing and learning that doesn’t mean I am different and am 100% positive my friends and family will love the new me just as I will them.