My study abroad journey was everything I had hoped for and more. While as of now I cannot really tell whether my life has been permanently changed or if I’m a totally new individual but as a result of the opportunity, I can say that it was an adventure that I’d strongly suggest to everyone and that I’d do it again in a millisecond. I’ve developed a relationship with the country and want to return, whether for further education or just to explore. In total, here is a rundown of takeaways from my study abroad experience in Germany, as well as some of the obstacles I encountered along the way, to summarise my study abroad experience as best I can.
Embracing a Multitude of People
The several variations between people would be the first thing you discover while studying abroad. Although, in an odd manner, you will begin to notice that many of these distinctions are still universal – people are, in several respects, the same everywhere.
Studying abroad allows one to really appreciate individuals from many cultural backgrounds, and when you socialize, you grow to accept people’s shortcomings as well as their perfections. This gift of understanding several people from various cultural backgrounds helped me to truly understand myself and the value of honing my soft skills in order to succeed in every circumstance.
Takeaways From My Study Abroad Experience: Developing Perspective
Perspective provides you with a new lens to see the world in the same sense as a marketer might use the Porter paradigm to disintegrate a macroeconomic system or an architect may see a blueprint. Gaining perspective and understanding the world provides you with a framework to see and appreciate what you have.
Many people may not understand how a person who grew up in a different environment, with different influences, schooling, and perspectives, may view circumstances differently, and being mindful of this reality is what distinguishes successful leaders and teammates. Perspective is more about simply knowing how one’s upbringing, traditions, personal interactions, and life events offer them a different outlook on things than maybe just your own.
My study abroad experience became so much more fulfilling during the semester as I crossed things off my wishlist because of the connections I created along the way. About the fact that I studied overseas with a Temple scheme, I didn’t know most of those people I’d be traveling with before I left for Germany. But, as corny as it might sound, the friends I found abroad soon grew to be some of the most prominent and important people in my life. Without studying abroad, I may not have known any of my closest peers, including one in California and another in Rome. These lifetime friendships are not something I intended to learn by studying abroad, but they have proven to be indispensable since I returned home.
Takeaways From My Study Abroad Experience: Trust
You must trust people. Of course, there are bad people as well, however, I can assure you that the number of good people well outnumbers the number of bad people on the planet. At any moment, as you’re walking down a narrow, dim, gravel road in the middle of the Black Forest, all you can do is look ahead, trust your instincts, and hope that it’s leading you to your hostel and not a creepy doorway. While abroad, I certainly learned to trust myself and others. When you’re up against a wall, you have to trust yourself to get where you’re going, it may be frightening at times, yet it’s only when you can fully believe in yourself that you’ll understand the value of freedom.
Two years can seem like a long time, but believe me…it isn’t. Carpe diem, or seize the day, was a phrase that I implanted in my mind during my time abroad. I found it a personal target to do at least 1 activity per day, whether it was to see a landmark or to go out to dinner. Due to the short amount of time I had in Germany, I decided to make the most of it by learning as much as possible. As a consequence, I just had 2-3 days off during my whole trip. Ironically, I understood that adopting that attitude was something I could do even in my own city as well.
Understanding My Home Country Better
Being a local in my own country for almost a decade told me a lot of whining and assuming that the grass was somehow greener in other countries. Living overseas has shown me that no country is flawless and my country has several good aspects that I’ve come to appreciate and be thankful for. All of my struggles made me realize the ones who have been there for me in my strongest and toughest times. It became even more necessary to me to nurture my relationships with my people back home.
Takeaways From My Study Abroad Experience: Learning About Myself
Studying abroad provided me with an opportunity that transformed my life forever. I learned not just about a different language and history, but also about self, which is the most important takeaway every curriculum might possibly have. It included classes that encouraged me to use my new language in enjoyable ways, which greatly aided in the development of my skills outside of the classroom. They also provided me with opportunities to help me reach foreign and Spanish students, which was a hallmark of my study abroad experience.
So, for all of you who believe that studying abroad is a big hassle, these were a few reasons to change your mind. Not only did I return from my study journey with wonderful memories and experiences, but I also returned as a transformed person, and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything.