Yesterday a friend of mine asked me how my study abroad experience was going, and before I answered he told me that he did not want to hear a generic answer such as “it has changed my life” or “it’s awesome”. He wanted a real response, and that made me ponder about it the entire day. At the moment when he asked I simply could not formulate a proper answer besides “It’s going good”. So for the rest of the day I just pondered at how I would answer the question the next time he or anyone else asked me about my study abroad experience.
It is a forgone conclusion to say that I am enjoying myself and having fun to say the least. After some thought I came up with my answer:
Studying abroad in two separate countries is surprisingly more complicated than one could imagine. Yes it was a lot of fun and all, but the real reward was not in how much I laughed or smiled, but rather how much time I spent listening and observing. Anybody could pick up a bottle of wine or sangria and drink it until the sun rises; but not many people can say that they felt the heartbeat of the city, the emotion of the people, or the spirit of a nations’ history. Going abroad is more than just learning new things about new places, it is learning new things about oneself! Among the many things I have learned so far, I have learned that at the end of the day the only person you have to rely on is yourself. Another thing I learned was that your “comfort zone” only extends as far, or as close, as YOU want it to. At the end of the day you will have many pictures and memories to share, but the things you won’t forget are the things within; maybe you might not even notice that things have changed, but I promise you that there has been “an awakening in the force”.
All in all this has been an amazing experience, I’d hate to sound so cliché, but it is just like Forrest Gump once said “life [is] like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”. Studying abroad has definitely been more than just a box of chocolates, it has been an endless array of them.