Doing it solo is a whole different ballgame.
Being away from your friends and family when it’s long-distance and a short time, versus when it’s a short distance and a long time, is not the same
I can go to college an hour and a half away from home and not see my family for weeks and be okay. However, when I was at the terminal waving goodbye to my parents (knowing I'd be flying back that weekend), I'd be lying if I said I wasn't fighting back tears. The same thing happened when I had to stop FaceTiming my best friend before I took off.
Being a foreigner is not easy
Being born and brought up in America, I still always had sympathy for those who were not from here. However, when you actually experience what it's like to have to communicate, and your first language is not the one which everyone's speaking -- it hits different. I have a newfound appreciation for those who come to a different country for an extended period of time.
There is an English double-standard
The awareness of my privilege suddenly slapped me in the face when I realized I could go up to any worker in a country where English was not the primary language, and they would be able to speak English. I was still intimidated because I was not used to being the minority and it just reiterated my appreciation for foreigners. On top of that, I realized there's a huge double standard in America where we just expect everyone to speak English even if they're not from here. Why do we do that? Their lives are hard enough!
Airports and airlines have no regard for your money
If you miss your flight or have to change it, your bank account is done.
There are so many lines and security checkpoints
They seem longer than I remember because now that I'm an adult my parents aren't holding my hand, and I have to make sure I catch my flights on time. Adulting is hard!