No one can explore the wide world for you. You have to do it for yourself. When you do, you won’t find yourself alone, but one with everyone, bonded by a shared humanity. And one way to embark on this voyage of self-discovery is by studying abroad. It’s a total immersion experience. You won’t simply get an education--you’ll also get a deeper insight about yourself, a broader understanding about other people, and an intuitive grasp about how life works.
Still, the idea of venturing out into the great unknown can be a little intimidating. It’s only natural to feel nervous, and it’s far easier to contemplate the risks than look forward to the rewards.
Let’s start with your imagined risks and then we’ll go into some of the details about why you’ll discover when you look back on it that it was an uplifting, transformative, and rewarding experience after all.
Some Nervous Questions You Might Be Asking
1. What if I run out of money?
Although this might appear to be a serious, life-or-death question, you have to remember that we now live in the modern world. It’s the age of lightning-fast computers interlinked through a worldwide network. So, if you ever run out of money, you can email or call home to ask your parents to send money online. That’s it. Problem solved.
And, of course, if you’re careful with your money, developing a clear understanding about how much things cost, you may never have to ask for money; so, create a budget, live frugally, and balance the money you’re receiving at regular intervals with the money you’re spending.
2. What if I’m homesick?
You might freak out when you realize how far you are from family and friends, as well as from all your favorite stomping grounds. Find a way to calm down…meditate, go for a walk, see a movie. You get the idea. Then, if this doesn’t work, call home. Use Skype. A familiar voice and face will instantly put your mind at ease.
3. What if I get lost?
Let's suppose you need to go somewhere without any travel companions but then can’t find your way back to campus. It could happen. So, until you’re more familiar with your surroundings and the language, carry around a few phone numbers, a map, and some extra cash. Just knowing you have readily available resources in your back pocket will mitigate any fears you might have about venturing out on your own.
Why You’ll Find It a Wonderful Adventure
There is so much that you’ll get out of your experience that you’ll wonder why you were ever nervous about it at all. In fact, you might look back one day and talk about how this was the best time of your life. You’ll recall your stay in another country with nostalgia, remembering it as a rollicking adventure, one teeming with endless surprises and delightful discoveries.
Here are some of the things that you might tell your grandchildren when you’re on your rocking chair in the front porch and they ask you about your wild youth:
You'll narrate the story about how you.--
- Met wonderful people and developed some life-long friendships.
- Gained a new perspective and appreciation for your own culture.
- Learned to speak another language with the fluency of a native speaker.
- Transformed into someone with self-confidence, open-mindedness, patience, compassion, and courtesy.
- Became a freethinker and totally independent in your ways.
- Learned to be a far better student because you were exposed to a completely different educational system that challenged your study habits
An Unforgettable Experience
While, of course, it’s perfectly natural to be be nervous going to study abroad, you have to remember that 97% of your apprehension is based on imaginary fears about stepping into the unknown.
But here’s the thing: you won’t be alone.
Besides the love and support of your family and friends back home, you’ll also meet many teachers, fellow students, and guidance counselors who will go out of their way to make sure you’re flourishing. Perhaps, the only regret you’ll have about your experience is leaving all your new friends behind in a country you fell in love with.
And, of course, when you get back home and start applying for a job--you'll almost always be the job candidate with the most fascinating resume.