In my opinion, everyone needs to travel. If the opportunity arises, then I would say, take the chance to live abroad. I got the chance to live in Rome, Italy by studying abroad. It is probably the best thing that can happen to a person as a young adult for so many reasons.
First, let’s talk about the fact that you get to live in a foreign place. It’s exhilarating. But, it changes you by throwing a bunch of challenges at you. For starters, living on your own in a foreign country. That alone is already enough for a person to deal with. Then, add going to school, adjusting to your surrounds, finding your way around, making friends and trying to learn the mother tongue. That sounds like a recipe for disaster but I promise it all works out.
So not only are you living in a foreign country with all these other obstacles presented to you, but you probably don’t know anyone. Luckily, meeting people is the easiest part. There are a ton of other students in the same exact boat as you – they are also in a foreign place, knowing no one, and starting a new adventure too. You are also probably living with roommates, who quickly become your best friends. It’s almost weird how easy it is to make connections. These people you meet and grow close to help you learn – specifically your roommates, if you get as lucky as I was. You are living with a set of people under some pretty wild circumstances for five months.
They change you probably for the best. They test your patience, push you to your fullest potential, and support you through all the craziness. Because of them you learn more about yourself. The roommates, the friends in class, the locals – you learn to love them all. They are from different parts of the world but somehow you can all come together to find common ground. The differences are what make you come together to teach one another about your way of life. You change by having a bigger heart with plenty of room to love.
Life abroad teaches you all about culture. Living in Italy, I experienced Italian culture firsthand and learned how they live happily. You submerse yourself in all that is the culture of the city you are living in. You walk everywhere as they do, you eat pasta daily, and you have a glass of wine with dinner every night for good health. You do not look people on the street directly in the eye or smile at them, for that is an open invitation left to the imagination of the other. You dress to the nines for class every day, for the Italians believe in the phrase “dress for success.” is is another list that could go on for days, but you get the point.
You adapt to the culture and appreciate everything that it is. Not only do you adapt to your host country culture, but you learn about the culture of the countries you visit. This changes your perception of the world. You become much more open minded. There is so much more that the world has to offer, and studying abroad forces you to realize that.