Enrich Your Soul By Studying Abroad

Enrich Your Soul By Studying Abroad

"One's destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things." --Henry Miller

303
views

During my junior year of high school, you could find me doing one of three things—studying, playing volleyball after school, or visiting college campuses with my mom trying to figure out where I wanted to be during those four amazing years of college.

Being the prepared student that I am and always have been, I had my three go-to questions I always whipped out for our guides. One, what has been your favorite and least favorite about being a student here? Two, what activities have you been involved with as a student? Three, what are the study abroad opportunities like at this university?

Studying abroad has always been on my mind and when I finally saw my chance to go on one, I jumped at this opportunity. My study abroad program is unique in the sense that it was only, unfortunately, one month long, or what we like to call a "Maymester" since it happens during the month of May.

This Maymester studying abroad in Pamplona, Spain has been everything that I expected but at the same time much, much more than I ever could have planned for. When we are given opportunities in life, we must take them and see where the ride takes us. If you are considering doing a study abroad program, don't be afraid to take that little leap of faith. It is worth more than you ever could have imagined possible.

1. You start to feel less like a tourist and more like a local.

This is very difficult when you take a one or two-week vacation to a foreign country. You are most likely staying at a hotel of some sort and doing all those "touristy" things you Googled after you bought your plane ticket. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to stay with a host family, in a university housing, or some other housing that will give you a cultural experience of living among the locals. After exploring the city and getting settled in, you become accustomed to the way of life and will tell yourself, "I think I could live here one day."

2. You have so much more time to explore the city and country.

I have been fortunate enough to have already traveled outside of the country and visit foreign places, but I have not been away for one month. My professor did an excellent job of designing the trip so we can hit all the main sights and beautiful cities throughout the Maymester while also just staying in town and enjoying dinner among the locals. You can actually relax and take your time without having to constantly look at your watch trying to get from place to place.

3. You foster connections with the faculty and students on your study abroad and also at the university you are studying at.

After lunch every day, people in Spain like to partake in what is called "sobremesa." Instead of eating, talking, and then leaving restaurants, the people in my group will enjoy each other's' company over a cup of hot café con leche after our three-course meal. All study abroad programs are not created equal, but there are many out there that will let you enjoy your meals like the locals do and foster connections between students and faculty on your trip. Man, I sure will miss our sobremesas.

4. You will have an indescribable cultural experience unlike anything possible after graduation.

Once you become an adult, that's game over. Of course, you can still travel whenever you have time, but that's the key…"whenever you have time." The cycle for most of us is that we go to school, we graduate, we get a job, and we work. Every single week, we work. Vacation days for traveling will become difficult to schedule around your travel partners. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have this unique of being in a foreign country for such an extensive period.

5. It's fun, gosh darn it!

Think of the coolest thing you have ever done in your life and it is even cooler than that! It's so cool, that when your friends and family ask you how you're doing over in *insert country here*, you can't even begin to scratch the surface to describe your emotions and day-to-day experiences. If you're worried about juggling classes in a foreign country because classes are hard enough in the U.S., don't be. That is obviously easier said than done, but it is a leap of faith that ultimately teaches you lessons you never knew you needed to be taught and feel emotions you have never felt before.

Cover Image Credit:

Maggie Roth

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
315310
views

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

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

My Summer Abroad Taught Me Sometimes, Happiness Is 4,000 Miles From Home

The six weeks that I was in England, I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life.

9
views

Last summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in England for six weeks.

This was something that I had been dreaming of doing for over 10 years, and from June-July 2017 I was finally doing it. I have loved the country of England since I was five years old, and there was no other place that I have ever imagined living in.

So when I was given the opportunity to attend an archaeological field school in Lincoln, I jumped at the chance. Thankfully, my parents were as excited for me as I was and supported me every step of the way.

I'll be honest with you, I was genuinely worried that I had this magical view of what England was and would be like; and that once I was there, I would be severely disappointed.

I was extremely wrong.

From the moment I touched down at Heathrow and first saw the UK BORDER sign at the passport desk, I knew that I had nothing to worry about.

My mom and I spent a week in London, exploring all of the places that I had only ever dreamed of seeing. I've never felt as at home as I did in London, and I honestly don't think I will ever find a place better suited to me than London.

After a week in London, my mom and I headed for my final destination for the next six weeks, Lincoln.
Lincoln is a town located about 160 miles north of London and is the cutest town I've ever seen.

The people are lovely, the restaurants are incredible, and the history is as rich as the cheesecake from Patisserie Valerie. Not only was Lincoln the most incredible city, but the people I met while attending the field school were the most important part of the trip.

My first week living in the dorm, I became extremely close with my dorm mates. The four of us then quickly became friends with six other individuals who never ceased to make me laugh.

Together we explored the sites of Lincoln, ate at way too many restaurants, danced on at least three tables, spilt a lot of pints, and made memories to last a lifetime.

Before I arrived in England, I was a little worried that I would be severely homesick and hate it.

However, just the opposite happened.

During my last two weeks abroad, I began to dread returning home. I love my family and friends and I missed them terribly, but for some reason, I just didn't want to go home.

The six weeks that I was in England, I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life. I felt light, free and just genuinely happy.

My anxiety didn't play up one single time, and I didn't have a single worry. I was in my dream country, doing something I'd always dreamed of doing, with people that truly understood me and became as close to me in six weeks as people who I had known for years.

When my plane home took off, I sat in my seat, looked out over my favorite country and cried.

I didn't want to leave England, I didn't want to leave Lincoln, I didn't want to leave the people I'd met and loved, and most importantly, I didn't want to leave my happiness.

It took me almost 20 years to find true happiness, and I found it 4,000 miles from home.

Happiness isn't always going to find you, sometimes happiness has to be found. You have to go out, and find your own happily ever after. If that means you have to travel the world to find it, if you have the means, do it!

Stop making excuses for happiness not finding you, and go find it for yourself. Trust me, you'll be happier than you've ever imagined.

Traveling/studying abroad was the most beneficial thing I've ever done, not only personally, but also mentally and spiritually.

I found out things about myself that I never even knew, and achieved something I've always wanted; true happiness.

Cover Image Credit:

Anna Blackwell

Related Content

Facebook Comments