5 Lessons I Learned While Studying Abroad
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5 Lessons I Learned While Studying Abroad

Fuel that wanderlust.

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5 Lessons I Learned While Studying Abroad
Adriana Marrero

While study abroad seems to always give the idea that you don't go to class and you just travel and party a lot, there are a lot of things you learn from it as well. You always hear people who have studied abroad say that they couldn't be happier that they did it, but it's honestly because with all the ups and the downs, sometimes you learn a lot more about yourself by jumping into situations you wold have never experienced in the same way in your home country.

1. Slow down.

Coming from an American east coast city, it's hard to take away the mentality of being on a tight schedule every day and planning out everything I do. I like to walk fast, and be able to go get errands done after lunch before another class, but that's not how Italians roll. They all walk much more relaxed through the crowded streets, and they like to take their own little 'siesta' after lunch. Regardless, I think they show your average American how important it is to slow down and just enjoy things for what they are, rather than trying to check something off your list.

2. Language is universal.

While it can be really scary to be in a new place where you don't understand anything that anyone is saying, there's a lot to learn from people who speak differently from you. Whether it's learning to say even just a 'hello' in their language, or picking up on hand gestures that they use, people will love that you are even trying to be like them. After all, did you really study abroad if you didn't utter their language once or try to connect with anyone?

3. Everything is temporary.

When you first arrive, most people are excited to be in a new place and to explore, but often that excitement wares off and you're left missing home and the culture shock and realizing you'll be gone for a while. In this case, it's important to acknowledge how you're feeling, but also to realize that things won't be that way forever and that you also won't be in that country for as long as you feel like you will. Before you know it, your feelings are reversed, and coming home will be just as tough, but again-everything is temporary.

4.You aren't moral authority, but you also don't need to change your values.

You are sure to run across some aspect of your host country’s culture that you find morally questionable, if not repugnant.

You may feel like that if people in your host country do something then you should do it too, or that maybe it's not as bad as you think, but that's not a time where you need to adjust yourself or protest what they do. You’re in this country to study, not to subvert their own culture and way of life.

It is the people who belong to the culture who are in the position to decide what needs changing, and change it. Let them do their job.

5. Knowing-self.

As cheesy as it sounds, study abroad is one of those times that really helps you to learn about who you are as a person, and what you want to be. You are given challenges, face your fears, develop skills, and maybe even find out that you're more capable of getting yourself somewhere and back without a GPS than you though you were, and those are all experiences that will shape you. Push yourself to your limits, get to know your classmates and locals, and do something you've never done before because you'll never have the same opportunity again.

Keep your heart and mind open wherever you go.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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