“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.” Azar Nafisi
Everyone will tell you how cool it is that you are studying abroad. How much fun you are going to have. How many cool sites you are going to see. But did anyone tell you how much you were going to change? Did they tell you that once you leave you will not be returning home the same person you once were? Did they tell you how differently you are going to see the world, your country, and your peers? If someone did tell me then I did not listen. I knew I would have the time of my life in London, but I never thought it would actually ‘change’ me. Now I have been wrong before, but never this wrong. I came back different. A good different. Coming back a changed person is one of the many truths about studying abroad.
“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life” Michael Palin
Another truth about studying abroad, you will get the travel bug. The travel bug is the best/worst illness you will ever get. Here is why it’s the worst (I am a firm believer in bad news then good news). Unless you become a flight attendant or some other really cool job that allows you to travel you cannot satisfy the urge to travel. You want to travel ALL THE TIME. I see no problem in traveling all the time, but my bank account sees something completely different. Now here is why it’s the best. You are curious and you know that there is so much more out there than the Midwest. It also makes you want to find adventures anywhere, even in the Midwest. You just want to go. Whether it be on a road trip to a new city that is six hours away, or a ten hour plane ride to a different country. As long as you are exploring the travel bug is not biting.
“The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important, so when you study abroad, you’re actually helping to make America stronger” Michelle Obama
During your time abroad you will meet and connect with many new and different people. The friends you live with and meet abroad will be different than any friend you will ever have. You open up to them quicker, you grow so close to them nearly instantly, and you learn to trust them so fast. All of this happens so fast because when you are abroad everything is heighten. It is not a comfort zone, so you make them a comfort zone. The friends you meet abroad are the friends that you have no problem spending a twelve hour bus ride with to Amsterdam or going on a six day trip where you are together 24/7. You all have an incredibly special bond because they get it. They understand how it felt to see the sunrise over the Thames at 5am. They know what you mean when you say how small you felt on top of that mountain in Scotland. They tasted that delicious macaroon under the Eiffel Tower, and remember how rich it was. One of the truths about studying abroad is you will meet friends who will last a lifetime and who will always understand you.
“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves.” Pico Iyer
From the Office of Study Abroad, Thank you Jordan for your enlightening blog post