This is a guest post by our campus ambassador Gloria Kennedy from Trinity University.
Imagine laughing so hard that your ribs start to hurt. Visualize yourself taking pictures alongside historical monuments. Picture traveling to ten cities located in five countries in the span of four months. These experiences are but only a glimpse of the life enhancing experience I had while studying abroad.
Last fall, I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. All those who know this about me continually ask me to define my experience. And for a lack of a better word, I reply by saying it was fantastic. Because to be honest, no word can encompass the magnitude of the incredible experience I had. The closest I can come to explaining how it was, is through informing people about all that I learned. Below are some of the things I learned while studying abroad in Madrid, Spain.
1) Who I am – I learned things about myself that I might never have known had I not gone through the unique experience of study abroad. I also acquired some new passions.
2) Life is about people – The energy, passion and enthusiasm that Madrileños put in all their relationships is admirable. It makes them happier, because they are filled with love and they share love.
3) Whatever we conceive, we can achieve – I visited the Coliseum and the Sistine Chapel while visiting Italy. All I can say is that no picture can ever capture their magnificence and just by being in these locations I felt as though I too am capable of such greatness.
4) Food is delicious and meant to be savored – Throughout Europe whenever people ate, it was a social event. In fact eating on the go, can result in numerous stares. Some of the best food I have ever eaten was while I was in Europe. Another reason why the food tasted so great is because I enjoyed it in the presence of delightful people.
5) Every culture has its beauty – Each country I went to had something so beautiful and unique to it alone that made me cherish the time I spent in it.
6) I am so grateful for my friends and family – Being away from the significant people in my life made me realize how important they really are to me. In fact as a result, I kept in touch with them and forged stronger bonds.
7) Life is what we make it, and even though it may take unexpected turns, we end up where we are supposed to be –I am thankful for all my experiences even the unexpected ones.
8) We are never too old to make friends – Once we find our niche in college, we often think that we are more or less done making other friends. Fortunately however, this isn’t the case. I met so many amazing people during study abroad, a couple of which I can say I want to know for the rest of my life.
I am aware that what I have written above is not new. However, the difference is I did not read it on a poster; I had the fortune of feeling it entirely. Therefore what I learned has become a pivotal reason as to why my life is more fulfilling.
Some people avoid studying abroad because they are comfortable and do not want to disrupt their lives. They are afraid that leaving could stir up or ruin what they have going on for them. But more often than not studying abroad makes life even better. I can attest to this because I am an International student studying abroad in America. So technically I have studied abroad twice. Both times have been worth it and improved my life in ways that only an experience such as study abroad can do.
Basically what I am saying is, STUDY ABROAD. You may not learn or encounter all the things I did. But you will not regret it. Besides college is the perfect and right time to go and experience a new culture. If you cannot do it during the semester, then do it during the summer. My advice is do not stress the details, apply, pack your bags, hop on a plane, and make enough memories to last a lifetime.