I toyed with how to start off this article, especially with the recent events that have taken place overseas. The first thing that came to my mind and something I want to emphasize the most is how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to experience studying abroad. This world is too beautiful to be viewed as a scary and dark place. My trip gave me a small glimpse of God’s gorgeous creation, and introduced me to 18 wonderful girls as well as an awesome tour guide, and gave me daily perspectives on our gorgeous, incredible planet earth. Here are just eight highlights of what I learned while abroad:
The history of other countries is fascinating. I remember dreading history class while in school, and rolling my eyes when having to memorize certain parts of some of our nation’s most historical events. However, being abroad gave me a whole new perception of history. It gave me so much insight on how things of the past have affected my own daily routine. I learned how culture and customs formed and over time how much they can shape a place and impact its demographics. I now understand that by learning the history of another country and being able to experience it is something that will shape you in more ways than one.
Coming from someone that has never been in an airport by themselves before, navigating your way through an unfamiliar airport is a skill I gained while abroad. Having to learn how to maneuver through different terminals, gates, and the small aisles on a plane without mom and dad there to keep up with your passport builds a ton of character and a fresh layer of tough skin. Thank you to the sweet lady in airport security for your kind words as I nervously walked through security while wiping tears as I left my anxious dad behind. You made my experience a lot less overwhelming!
I highly encourage all of you who are thinking of going abroad to do some research on where you are going before you do anything else. It is so easy to be in our own bubble when it comes to being in your homeland. However, learning how to navigate through customs and be informed about where you are going and what you are bringing home from a foreign country is essential. Also, a special thank you to the men and women that work in customs and make it their priority to keep all of us safe. You are not recognized enough for what you do!
Visiting another country does two things in regards to your homeland. Not only does it allow you to see the world as a gorgeous planet in the universe, it also allows you to appreciate your own home. It makes you grateful for the things you have experienced and the things we take for granted on a daily basis. Experiencing another country helps you value the small things at home, while also learning to appreciate and respect a different culture.
Making new friends.
To the special 18 gals that went abroad with me, this one is for you! Studying abroad in another country is not only something that pushes you to be out of your comfort zone but making new friends along the way is something I highly encourage if you choose to study abroad. Go on a trip where you don’t know a single soul. I promise you will leave with friendships that will stay with you for longer than you thought possible. A huge shout out to the girls that loved endless coffee, scarce water, and Italian food wherever we went. You are all such a blessing to me.
Aside from learning different currency exchange rates and local foods, I learned that the world was not created to be something that we should fear. The world is beautiful. The world is filled with wonderful places and genuine people. Our God is still higher, and planet earth is still an admirable place. Having fear and timidity in the face of evil shows defeat. There is never a better time to explore the world than the present, and I encourage all of you to dive in headfirst and take a couple of glimpses of our outstanding planet.