Last year around this exact time, I was packing my bags and getting ready to head to Dublin, Ireland, where I would spend my first semester of college (and my first time away from home). The nerves I felt were unparalleled to anything I had ever felt in my life, and the hope that my life would play out like the "Lizzy McGuire" movie was all I could think about. Through the good and the bad, I can easily say that my time abroad at age 18 was the best decision I could have ever made, and even though it is not the most conventional way to start your college experience, I couldn't think of a better way as a now Sophomore to give myself the confidence to start a new chapter in my life.
1. The nerves that come with going to a strange place where you don't know a single person is similar to what every college freshman goes through, but instead of going to a new campus, you get to go to a new country.
(can't say I've seen a better view at my college)
2. You instantly bond with the group that you're studying with. Just like at any college, you're roommate situation can a total shot in the dark, but sometimes, like in my case, you get lucky and you and your best friend get to travel and experience a new country together.
3. Dining hall food is just not a thing when you're abroad, so testing out your favorite "Tasty" video or exploring a city for the coolest restaurants has never been easier.
4. Let's be real... the legal drinking age is 18 in most European countries, so you never have to worry about not being let in to your favorite bar while studying abroad. Also, while most are bouncing from frat to frat, you and your friends get to experience city nightlife like real adults!
5. Traveling the world has never been so easy. Flights are cheap and weekend get aways to places you never thought you'd be able to visit become a reality.
6. Just like any college freshman, you will get homesick. The fact that you will not be able to go home at all for your first four months of school will start to sink in, but in the end, the experience is worth the feelings of missing home, because you are creating a new one in a new place on your own.
7. When it finally is time for you to come home, you are a totally new person with new experiences that not many other people your age have accomplished. Also, you know that you are more than capable of flourishing at your college after taking a semester to travel the world on your own and make amazing friends along the way.