4 Things I've ACTUALLY Learned About Myself On Study Abroad

4 Things I've ACTUALLY Learned About Myself On Study Abroad

No, this isn't about chicken nuggets.

When I was going to write this article, I was going to make it something to oppose the joke I made last week. You can read all about that here.

I wanted to focus my energy on writing something that wasn’t necessarily serious, but would definitely talk about all the things I’ve learned about myself this past month being on my own. I’m still going to do that, but it’s definitely not going to be as serious as I wanted it to be because let’s be real, I’m currently writing this as I cool down from running frantically from one airport to another because I messed up my flights. So, even though I would love for you to believe I have it all together, that would just not be true.

With all of that being said, here are some things that I've actually learned about while abroad.

1. It’s okay to be sad

When I first set out to study abroad I put up a front and made it sound like I wasn’t going to miss being at home, or with my family, at all. Before you peg me as the world’s worst daughter and sister, I knew I was going to miss my family, but I just wasn’t expecting the week worth of homesickness that hit me as soon as I shut the door to my dorm room the first couple of nights. When that happens, admit to yourself that you miss home and just call your fam.

2. You can figure things out on your own

Okay, I mean I knew I could do things on my own before I left for my study abroad, but being on a whole other continent and not being able to just immediately tell your family your problems or have them fix something for you on the spot changes things. I thought I was a quick thinker before, but I’ve definitely improved.

3. Go out of your comfort zone

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or anything, but if you’re used to going everywhere with your friends or never going out to dinner on your own, give that a shot. This isn’t the time to fall into the same comfortable lull that you exist in at home.

4. It’s never as bad as you think

Sure, there might be hiccups here and there and I know that during the adjustment period of being at a new school and a new country I was constantly stressed out and most times on the verge of tears (I blame getting sick as soon as my plane hit U.K. soil). With all of that being said, even if you miss your flight, or train, or make a fool out of yourself, it’s all an experience and when all is said and done, they’re going to make the best memories.

Cover Image Credit: Rebecka Lindahl

Popular Right Now

Dear 'Feminists,' Stop Degrading Melania Trump

If you truly believe in supporting other women, then support all women.

Every so-called “feminist” lashes out, and tears down the Trump women every chance they get. From criticizing Melania for her choice of shoes to critiquing her parenting style, women seemly have disowned the Trumps. Why? Because they don’t agree with them.

People, mainly left-wing feminists, exclude Republican women. Women should always support other women unless it is a Republican woman. Republican women are seen as “brainwashed,” privileged, out of touch, ignorant and even anti-women. When in reality, we Republican women just have different opinions and different morals.

Melania Trump came to the United States legally, working in New York as a model. She was born in Yugoslavia, which is modern-day Novo Mesto, Slovenia. She obtained her green card to live here permanently through the EB-1 program. She is fluent in Slovenian, English, French, Serbian, German languages and Italian. As well as being First Lady and a professional model, she has launched a jewelry and skincare line and co-hosted on "The View."

Our First Lady is a textbook example of what the American Dream looks like. She is a self-made businesswoman who is raising an equally intelligent son while succeeding at her job as First Lady.

And let's be honest, she still looks good while doing so.

Feminists claim to be pro-women, pro-immigration, and pro-female entrepreneurship. Melania checks every single one of those boxes. Yet, they tear her down every chance they get.

I wonder if these feminists are really only pro-liberal women?

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

So, What IS Modern Day Feminism?

We need to realize that we will have disagreements and different views. But through listening and understanding, we can achieve real change.

Feminism. A word that holds a lot of weight. There are a lot of emotions and mixed feelings attached to it. Many people have definitions of feminism. So I asked everyone I knew what feminism means to them and how they define it. The responses have been interesting. I have received the common expected answers and some unusual ones that have given me a new perspective.

The first wave of responses dealt with the usual perspectives. How feminism is an outdated concept, that is unnecessary for the time we live in. That it sets us back and makes every little thing some type of oppression, when it really isn't. The other typical perspective is, "Screw the patriarchy, women need to be in power and control." These are the perspectives we are used to and that are usually presented in the media. We don't usually see the views that meet in the middle or offer a unique take. Those were the views greater in number that took me by surprise and challenged my view.

A close friend of mine, who is not a stranger on Odyssey, is Aasha. She told me how she defines feminism as "the promotion and protection of equity for all women and their intersectional identities." Her definition stems from the fact she is someone who is the embodiment of kindness and wisdom. It also stems from her experience of living in India her freshmen year of high school and exposure to serious gender issues globally.

My other friend, who happens to be a male, shared with me that he believes in women coming together to support one another and gain equal opportunity. However, it can be taken into an extreme when it doesn't have to be. Men need to be open and accepting towards feminism, but as a society, these extreme measures undermine the real issues that need to be front and center.

Along those same lines, a friend of mine agreed but feels that the extreme measures taken overshadow the real issues at hand. Allowing for feminism to become something that is for the betterment of women and not equality. A view shared by many of the people who contacted me was that they were not a feminist or do not like to associate with the movement.

A person that I hold in high regard told me what they thought about the topic. They said, "to me, feminism is the understanding that all women deserve not just equality, but liberation. All women, as in women of color (black women in particular) and queer women and disabled women and transgender women and working-class women and women that fit more than one of these categories.

Feminism is not just showing up to one march or sharing articles on Facebook and calling it a day. It’s holding the people you love accountable when they say, “Oh, she looks like a man” or “She’s dressed like a slut.” It’s not necessarily the female CEO or solider.

After all, what about that CEO’s exploitation? Feminism shouldn’t seek to uphold existing oppressive structures, and it should be predicated on the idea of collective liberation. No one is free until everyone is free. By extension, no woman is free until every woman is free." I know it is a lot, but I think what they had to say was important and went beyond the general ideas that exist regarding feminism.

I wanted to explore this topic because I do not think it's something that is really discussed. I feel that there are two categories formed and people are placed into them. That should not be the case because there are never two sides. I know as human beings we are fascinated with making everything simple, but sometimes we just need to accept and embrace that things are complex and messy. There is a beauty to it and even when it's hard to confront, we should try to listen and understand. That should always be our goal.

I identify as a feminist and I define feminism as the support and respect for all women, their identities and to have the same equal opportunities as men. It does sting a bit when I hear other women say that they are not feminists or that they don't really support feminism, but I realized that it does not make them terrible people. They have valid reasons that I tried to listen to and understand. Although I have my own views and stand strongly by them, I recognize other views on this topic and give them the same respect and weight that I give to my own. Because for us as a society to make change, we need to realize there is not just one way or right way to do things.

We need to realize that we will have disagreements and different views. But through listening and understanding, we can achieve real change.

Cover Image Credit: American Life League / Flickr

Related Content

Facebook Comments