I am back to the grad school grind today! Continuing with the "back to school" theme, I am here today to try and convince you to study abroad. But I'm not going to lie and say it won't change you. Oh, it'll change you alright. But in my opinion, study abroad can change you for the better.
How Study Abroad Can Change You
You'll never shut up about study abroad.Especially right after when you get back from your trip. And I mean this lovingly. We've all been there. Heck, I STILL find myself saying, "Oh, when I was in Rome," or, "When I visited Paris while I was studying abroad…" It doesn't go away. But your friends accept the references the further out you are. Lesson: Study Abroad is the exact opposite of Fight Club.
It's entirely possible that you will be overcome with the sudden urge to start a blog. That's how I got into this whole blogging shebang! Face it: it's the most efficient way to communicate to everybody back home what you are doing. And it's a great way for you to document your trips and look back on them! Reflecting is another thing that comes with study abroad.
You will become spoiled when it comes to food. I am sure this is true of a ton of countries, but I can speak from experience and say this will be even worse if you choose to study abroad in Italy. Even the cheap pizza you grab on your lunch break will become instantly better than any pizza you've had at home. Markets around the world are fascinating and shopping will become an exciting game. Hopefully, you'll take some recipes home with you too!
If you go somewhere that speaks a different language, your brain will be working on overtime translating everything. This can appear like a terrible thing, but all of this brain training is good for you! When you get back, you'll be tempted to add "Italian" to your LinkedIn profile. Don't, unless you became an Italian/French/German master and you have an outlet to practice upon your arrival. If you're anything like me, a few years later you will be disheartened when you realize how much of that language you actually forget.
Public transportation will be no match for you. Hopping all over the world can really prepare you to become a public transportation master. Especially if you're trying to save some $$$ abroad. Now imagine you're back from abroad and you've got a big job interview in New York City. Knowing how to navigate a public transit system will make it much less stressful. Confidence is a magical thing to have.
Your mind view will probably change, if you let it. Coming from America, Rome has a special amount of PDA. We're talking, laying on park benches in full on make-out mode. At first, your natural reaction is probably going to be, "That's not right! They should change!" Ah, my friend, maybe you should open your mind to the way other cultures work. PDA is a very tame example where this is concerned, but this article from Mental Floss gives some other examples.
It's possible that you may get bitten by the travel bug. Multiple times. And you may fall head over heels in love with travel. In some way, that could change the course of "what you do when you grow up." And I think that's pretty dang powerful!
- Your turn! How did study abroad change you? Are you thinking of studying abroad?