Studying Abroad Changing

How Studying Abroad Has Changed My Life Before I've Even Gone Abroad

This upcoming new chapter of my life has given me a new purpose, drive, and joy already-before I've even gotten on the plane.

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Recently, I was accepted to study abroad to Italy via a program offered at my college, and I already know it's going to be one of the best decision I've ever made. I'm 19-years-old and have never been out of the country-I've never even left the east coast. I knew that despite my anxiety and despite being nervous about traveling and living in a new country for a whole semester, this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Having anything to look forward to has the ability to completely change your outlook on life. Before I decided that I wanted to go to Italy, I was just kind of going through the motions. I knew I wanted to get good grades and obtain my degree, but besides that, I had no other drive.

Getting accepted into my study abroad program and researching all of the amazing places I'm going to see in less than six months has reminded me of what I'm passionate about. Now, I find myself being even more driven to maintain my good grades and go to class because I feel like I have more defined goals.

After researching the culture of Italy and the language, I have considered an Italian-oriented minor. After my trip abroad, I know that I will be able to make that decision.

The joy that this trip has sparked in my life is huge despite me even obtaining my passport yet. I spend so much time searching for outfit ideas and fantasizing about where I will be in 6 months, doing yoga and visiting the most beautiful sites and taking amazing pictures of them (and all for college credit!)

I have also already started looking for summer jobs so that I can save up spending money, something I would have never done otherwise. During my summers, I like to relax and do not always work the hardest to find jobs during that time, but because of studying abroad, that's all changed.

I know that this new chapter of my life is going to be the most exciting one yet, and it hasn't even started. I encourage everyone to research study abroad programs offered at their college if they are even thinking it might be for them. It is simple to apply, there are many scholarships offered, and easier to get accepted than you may think!

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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5 Vital And Helpful Tips I Live By When Packing For A Trip

Try and pack smarter, not harder.

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If you are anything like me, you tend to overpack thinking you are being a great packer and being ready for any scenario that life may throw at you. Well, that is, unfortunately untrue, and I have learned that you are only doing more harm than good. Over the years, I have come up with five tips I always use when traveling and have been proven to work. You've heard of the five golden rules of life, and, well, these are the five golden rules/tips of packing.


1. Start with a packing list.

This is the best tip I could give to anyone else who is getting ready to travel. Making a list is very useful, especially when stressed about your travel. You will not forget anything because you have it all written down. A packing list is a great way to keep organized when packing.

2. Use space bags.

Now, this is a tip my dad lives by. Space bags are great when you are packing because it protects your clothes and makes room to put a lot in your suitcase. The crazy story of a time when my dad was traveling, and his friend's bag was soaked with the shampoo he brought on the plane. All his clothes and everything inside the suitcase was ruined. So always use space bags because you never know what could happen on the flight. You can buy a space bag here.

3. Pack the essentials first.

I will be honest and say that I do over-pack a lot. I use the line "just in case" as an excuse to pack my entire house. But I have learned that packing for "just in case" is a waste of time. When you first sit down to pack, lay out all your essentials. For example, clothes that you will wear during the trip. You will be surprised to see how effective it is.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Chicago Is The Best City In The World

4. ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry on.

This tip is one that I have been very grateful that I used. A while ago during my trip to Canada, my check-in bag was missing and delayed for multiple hours. Luckily I had an extra outfit to keep me fresh and not feel gross. It is always crucial to this in your carry on In case of emergencies such as your bag getting lost.

5. Put identification on your suitcase.

Everyone in the airport somehow tends to have the same black or red suitcase that you have, which only means confusing when you're trying to find your check-in bag. To quickly identify your suitcase, put a sticker, or tie a ribbon on the handle. You can easily pick up your suitcase and leave. This will prevent any sneaky people trying to steal or claim that your suitcase is theirs.

P.S.: Use a bright color ribbon or a different sticker. Also, tie the ribbon properly to make sure it's secured.


I live by these five packing tips every time I travel so I hope you can use them the next time you take a trip!

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