A good friend of mine once told me a phrase her dad always use to tell her, and it goes like this: “New place, new perspective”. This couldn’t be more true, especially when the new place is in a new country, culture and language. Getting away from home is a great way to get a fresh look on things, and it often brings many lifelong lessons along with it that you’ll be grateful you learned, no matter how hard it was to get there.
We’ve all seen movies where the lead character runs away and solves all of her problems by becoming a surfer on the coast of Australia or leaves home and realizes everything they had was already enough. While this may happen to you when you study abroad, more often than not, your same problems and insecurities follow you no matter where you run.
Though this might sound discouraging, traveling is actually a really great way to confront your insecurities and grow through them, instead of just ignoring them or moving onto the next ones. Whether it’s working through your social anxiety by making friends in your second language or facing your fears in a whole new light, it’s good to let “real life” follow you to your dream destinations.
This semester, I’ve been out of my comfort zone, a lot. I’ve learned to ask for help with things that I didn’t think were worth asking before. I’ve learned to take up space wherever I am, even when I feel like I don’t belong. I’ve learned to think about doubt and confusion as part of the human experience rather than something I need to “fix.” I’ve also learned to embrace myself more as a whole by taking risks and allowing myself to do things I wouldn’t “normally” do.
While wading through these things came with its own difficulties, I know that I’ve chosen to let studying abroad change me for the better. By being proactive about my insecurities, recognizing them as they were shown to me through being out of my comfort zone, and facing them instead of wishing to be the lead character in a Netflix Original. Being in a new place has given me many new perspectives on myself, the world, and what it means to be human.