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Now that we’ve established that you’re going to gain adventure, perspective, and face a few challenges along the way as benefits during your study abroad semester, let’s talk about two distinguished life lessons your study abroad experience is likely to teach you.
1. Personal Growth is Hard, But Worth It
Study abroad is one of those pursuits that will take all you’ve got to give and then give it right back to you. You’ll have to trust the process because I can promise you, it’s going to be hard.
There will be many times throughout your program where you’ll want to throw in the towel. Perhaps you are homesick or will just find yourself having a couple of rough weeks, being bad at everything. I can promise you, you’ll want to phone home and ask to leave. I can also promise you that’s a bad decision. Chin up, Stay in The Fight!
The challenges, the angst, the hardest of times show us what we’re made of. Take the downsides of your study abroad program and make them into positives by finding ways of using these hardships to grow.
There’s real, tangible value in what you’ve accomplished!
Take a look around and see what you’ve done. Let’s keep in mind that study abroad students are part of an exclusive club. Less than 20 percent of students worldwide take advantage of a study abroad program during their high school or undergraduate studies (this varies by country of origin of course!).
Give yourself a round of applause and appreciate all of your great efforts. These are likely to come in handy later down the road.
2. Some Things Will Never Be The Same Again
When I say ‘Study abroad changed my life, I get a variety of reactions. Some people are impressed, while others are interested to hear more about my experiences, and a few scoff at the idea because they simply do not understand.
It’s a fact – you’ll never be the same person again. Sure, you are technically ‘the same person’, but once you embrace all that SA has offered you, your perspective will be changed forever.
For many people, this leads to what I like to call ‘Chronic Comparison Syndrome’. It might be years since your last stint abroad and you’ll still find ways to compare your experiences of your host country to that of your home country and in many ways, you may start to believe that your host country is the better suitor. Again, perspective….it changes things — embrace that. It happens to all of us!
Can you guess what type of life lessons studying abroad might teach you? Share your thoughts below!
Until next time,
Known as The Study Abroad Specialist, Kimber Grayson is a serial-study abroader turned International Education coach and expert. Since 2014, she has helped 100+ students navigate their semester away journey from the coastal areas of Spain to China and every place in between. In 2018, she launched The LiveStudyLearn™ Abroad Association, a one-of-a-kind online membership platform for study abroad students worldwide.
She holds two Master's degrees from two well-respected London-based universities and has experience working in the US, UK & and Italy.
In her spare time (what's that again?), she enjoys leisure travel city breaks, any snow-based activity, skeet shooting, and attempting to learn new languages.