5 things about a semester abroad that will change you forever

Going abroad…you have heard all about it since freshman year but it all sounds pretty scary. Taking an airplane all by yourself to a country you have never been to before. Wouldn’t it be easier to just take a vacation?

This is the dilemma that plagues many young college students as they approach their upperclassman years, as credits and schedules finally yield enough to accommodate a semester abroad.

To aid in the decision making process, I have compiled 5 things you will encounter abroad that will change you forever.

1- Traveling on your own. The courage and presence of mind that it takes to navigate from your departing airport to a foreign land, find accommodation and meet new people is a priceless experience. Once you conquer this, you can do anything. It gives you a sense of self-sufficiency and independence that is like a drug that you’ll feed off of forever.

2- Culture shock. Whether you are studying in an English speaking country like England or deep in the heart of Italy, you are going to experience a different way of life. New foods, new slang words, new customs, and a different way of looking at the world. It’s unlike taking a vacation, because you are wholly immersed in the culture every day. It becomes your life.

3- Making friends all over the world. At your school and while travelling on breaks, you are going to meet a whirlwind of incredible people that may become life long friends. You build up a reserve of incredible people all over-which means you have a place to stay and someone to show you around in another cultures, all over the world.

4- Becoming more open minded. Unfortunately, the news doesn’t teach us everything. We grow up with a very narrow view of the world. Then, when we have the chance to live in another culture for an extended period of time, travel, and learn things about the world first hand, we have a chance to appreciate global concepts and perspectives that never made sense before.

5- Becoming adventurous eaters. Nothing expands your horizons like studying abroad. You will be forced out of your comfort zone, often times with favorite ingredients not being available. Likewise, You will be exposed to a delicious cornucopia of new favors and traditions that you could never get back home.

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