Study abroad has been a transformational experience in my life. I actually can hardly fathom how incredible it was. I got to do SO MUCH WORLD TRAVEL while completely a year of college and I met the most beautiful souls along the way. I urge everyone to live abroad at least once in their life. It is a truly expansive experience. Studying abroad in college is under-rated and I just can’t stress it enough.
I am writing this over a year after my 8 month long study abroad adventure in Thessaloniki, Greece, where I studied for two semesters at The American College of Thessaloniki. I want to share how it has enhanced my life in retrospect so that it can offer value to others in one way or another.
Here are the top 3 ways studying abroad can enhance your life:
The World is Your Playground. Study abroad made me realize how safe, easy and accessible world travel actually is. Every day was an adventure when I lived abroad and fun was as effortless as ever.World travel is a serious thrill and study abroad attracts some of the best people to travel with. There is a misconception that travel is dangerous, expensive, and only for a subgroup of people. This is just no true. There has never been a better time to travel the world. I actually spent less money than I would have at my home university while being abroad. World travel is not dangerous and I find the media to be misleading about this. I have been to over 30 countries, some as a solo female, and I never experienced any danger.
Expanded Consciousness. Living abroad in a new culture,especially solo, expands your self-awareness and your consciousness. Culture shock is good for the soul. By immersing yourself in a foreign culture you grow and expand yourself on all levels. You honestly become a more interesting person. You know who you are and who are not on a deeper level. You become more aware of your likes and dislikes. More parts of your identity are revealed by the contrast of the foreign countries collective identity. It allows you to reinvent yourself with traits you like about the places you choose to visit. Where we live is shaping who we become at every moment; living abroad will certainly stir up your identity, especially if you are vulnerable to change. You will learn to think and communicate in new ways when you live abroad. You will have more self-confidence and become more self-reliable.
A Second Home, A New Family, A World Citizen. The type of experiences you will have while studying abroad will create life long bonds with people from across the world. Your new city will feel like a second home. At least it does for me. I am in love forever with Thessaloniki and the local people who are so welcoming and kind to expats. By living in a foreign country, your geography and understanding of world history will seriously improve without even trying. You will identify less as citizen of your home country and more as a world citizen. You will see that boarders don’t mean much and that separation is mostly in our minds. Humanity will make more sense. Your cultural gap will lessen. Your heart will be more open to people of other cultures.
Have you ever lived abroad? If so, comment below one way it has enhanced your life.