Amy Cotton is a student at the University of San Diego . She is an ISA Featured Blogger alum and studied abroad with ISA in Auckland, New Zealand.
As I sit at my desk and write this blog, 10 days until I leave the country that I owe so much to, I would be a fool to not sit back and think about all of the things that I have learned in my journeys. Studying abroad so far from home can be a scary thing, especially for a girl who specifically chose a college only 40 minutes away from her parent’s house so she can go home every other weekend for home-cooked dinner and laundry.
So, to anyone who is worried about embarking on this life-changing journey, and yes it will be a life-changing journey, I encourage you to do it no matter how scary it seems. Because you will learn so much about yourself and if you’re lucky, be inspired to use your life to make a difference in this world.
At the top of Tongariro Mountain
Here are the top 3 things I learned about myself abroad, something I’m not sure I would have realized without this experience.
1. The true value of money
As I said earlier, I used to go home every other weekend. My parents would have groceries for me to bring back to school and a free washing machine and dryer at my disposal. It wasn’t until I went abroad and had to pay for my own groceries and laundry usage that I realized how incredibly lucky I was to have parents who selflessly gave me everything I needed for free.
2. How to grow up
Being the youngest child in my family, I would have to agree with my oldest sister and admit that I am babied. Being 6,502 miles away from my home, I had no choice but to grow up. This included finding a cell phone provider, PAYING for that cell phone provider, and doing all other grownup things like cooking, going to the doctor, and paying for gas. But guess what? Growing up also means I get to choose when I want to eat dessert before dinner so it kinda rocks.
3. How strong I am
Lastly, I learned my strength. People who grew up in my town joked it was like living in a bubble. We were sheltered from every non pleasant thing and received help from everyone. My strength abroad came in all shapes and sizes. It came from being homesick the first couple of weeks and having to suck it up. It came from being in mile 10 out of 12 on my Tongariro Hike and being convinced I couldn’t finish the hike (spoiler alert: I conquered that mountain). It came from making mistakes, having to own up to them, and learning from them.
Studying abroad is all about learning—in school, about the world, and about yourself. I’m so excited for you to learn more about yourself as well.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.