The lessons learned abroad

Written by Rachel Smith
April 13, 2017

The best experience that I have had in these last four years of attending Southern did not take place anywhere near this campus. Rather, it took place over 4,000 miles away, in a country I had never been to before. My junior year I decided to go abroad to Newbold College of Higher Education, and though the decision seemed terrifying at the time, there has never been a day that I regret going.

College is a time for discovery. When you live in the same place and have an established routine, it can be difficult to realize that you live in a world larger than America. Exploring another country, or multiple countries when studying abroad, it allows you to experience different people and their unique cultures.

Embracing cultural traditions that were undeniably British was one of my favorite parts of my semester abroad. I fell in love with the simple things like: riding the tube, getting a pasty or walking around the Christmas markets with a cup of tea.

Not only do you discover places, but you also discover more about yourself. Traveling helps you gain independence and perspective that is difficult to develop otherwise. From navigating a public transportation system to effectively communicating to a non-English speaker without the aid of google translate, going abroad forces you to conquer many obstacles help you gain confidence in your ability to “adult.”

While discovering other places, you are also discovering yourself. When I went to Newbold I met so many new people, and I am an extreme introvert. With these friends came a special bond, one forged in long, windy car rides through Roman aqueducts, life-threatening adventures across Italian backroads, multiple late night spaghetti meals sitting on cold, tile floors, and many more memories that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.

So, if you are considering going abroad to study, do it! There are so many adventures for you to go on and people for you to meet. Most people do not get the option of spending months abroad, and you will regret staying and never taking a chance.