7 Thoughts Every College Kid Has When They Study Abroad

7 Thoughts Every College Kid Has When They Study Abroad

How do I get back to my hotel if I can't even pronounce the name of it?
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Last week as I was walking around campus, I started seeing posters advertising information sessions about upcoming study abroad opportunities for the summer. Having had the opportunity to take part in a study abroad program last summer to fulfill credit for my communications elective, it brought back amazing memories of my time in Thessaloniki and Athens Greece where I got to spend 3 weeks learning about gender in film.

Studying abroad has easily been one of the best decisions I’ve made in college. Not only did I earn three of the most exciting, diverse, and enlightening college credits towards my degree, I also learned about traveling to and in a foreign country. That’s not something you learn in a textbook or by sitting behind a desk in a classroom. From meeting new people who quickly became some of my new best friends to participating in cultural experiences unlike anything I have ever done in the United States, it was an all-around rewarding and life changing experience that I highly recommend for all college students.

When you study abroad, at first it's all about being in a new country, visiting the sites in the area, trying foods and drinks, getting to know the people at the local establishments and the hotel, learning the currency, and really trying to immerse yourself in the culture and learn about the country you are visiting. But once the weeks start to pass by and the hype has gone down, some thoughts begin to run through your mind…

1. I miss $2 drink specials

2. What exactly am I eating?

3. DOES ANYONE HERE SPEAK ENGLISH?!

4. I really hope this ATM doesn't suck up my card...

5. I miss my bed and AC

6. How do I get back to my hotel if I can't even pronounce the name of it?

7. How will I ever thank my parents enough for sending me on this amazing experience?

As you start to contemplate your schedule for Spring and Summer session, consider studying abroad. I can guarantee it will be the best class you've ever taken and the experiences you encounter will not only enhance your college experience but provide you with memories that last a lifetime.

Cover Image Credit: Kylee Rossiter

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Never Underestimate The Influence Of Seeing The World, It's An Education You Can't Get At School

Not only do I think going on vacations or traveling is super fun and exciting, but I think it is very important for our growth.

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Traveling always makes me realize how little I know about the world I'm living in each day. It brings out a new curiosity in me that makes me want to see every end of the earth before I leave this planet someday. There is so much to see and I want to see it. There are places here in this world that I could never even imagine to exist, but they do!

Traveling can really make dreams come true — who wouldn't want to experience the moment when you're in pure awe because you see such a beautiful place that is so new to the eye.

Exploring the world is so important because you can step into someone's life and culture. You can get a better understanding of the different people around the world. People celebrate life in so many interesting and different ways than yourself.

I think it is very important to recognize people's varying ways of life because, in the end, it will only connect us as humans more.

Try some new foods and try to master a few words in another language. Journeying to amazing destinations around the world is literally food for thought. It is an education you can't get and learn in school.

Seeing the world will give you the ability to have so many wild adventures (my favorite). Maybe you get into a situation you did not plan on happening, but you get the chance to experience and explore. You will have stories to pass on to your friends or even your children and grandchildren for a long long time.

You might also meet some new friends along the way — take the time to learn their life stories. Make new connections.

Do not be scared to ask for guidance.

Seeing the world will give you a new perspective and a new outlook on life. It may help you to appreciate more of what you have and the opportunities you have. Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to view things differently.

So if you ever get the opportunity to travel or see the world, take it. "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."

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Stop Trying To Make Life So Black And White

Consider that you being right doesn't make someone else wrong by default—and vice versa.

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Life isn't black and white.

Perhaps that sounds like an obvious statement, but nonetheless, it still needs to be said.

Furthermore, life isn't just one giant grey area—it's several shades. There are so many twists and turns, so many unknowns and layers, that it's impossible for something to be 100 percent one way or the other.

At least, that's how my mind works.

It's difficult for me to stand stubbornly behind my own viewpoints without first listening to someone else's. For me, looking at things from their perspective is second nature. I could be spitting angry at someone, but I can't walk away from them because their perspective is glaring me in the face.

"Yes, what they did was wrong, but I get why they did it," is a line often uttered. This stance, of course, has its drawbacks. It has kept me in toxic situations far longer than it should have. It has allowed all sorts of people to walk over me like a common doormat. It has built up resentment in me for not having my efforts reciprocated.

It has also opened my eyes.

Democrat, Republican, Christian, Atheist, Religious, or Non-Secular—let's find common ground. Let's understand each other because, at the end of the day, we're all human. We all want to be loved and understood.

Maybe the first step is hearing each other. No, I don't mean listening until you can rebut, I mean really hear them. We all have our worldviews for a reason.

Why do you think the way you do? Probably because of how you were raised. Probably because experiences molded your mind and opinions.

We all have different walks of life. We each grew up differently than the other, so it's only natural that we should view the world through different lenses than our neighbor.

Next time, before you pass judgment on another person, consider the fact that maybe they aren't wrong. Also, consider that you being right doesn't make them wrong by default—and vice versa. Life is too layered for us to be right or wrong. Two people can be saying different things and both provide valid points.

Life isn't black and white, it's high time we stopped trying to make it that way. Besides, a picture is infinitely more interesting when it's shaded in and has more variety.

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