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Studying outside of comfort zone

Study abroad, they said. It’ll be great, they said. Well, they were right. But, they were also wrong.

Studying abroad is undoubtedly an exciting new experience that will help you grow and develop skills that you would never develop by staying in your comfort zone. But, it’s also terrifying and frustrating at times. Everyone’s Instagrams and posts about traveling around, meeting new people and having the time of their lives are true, sure, but there are things that they don’t tell you.

For example, you’re going to miss Target. And driving. And $5 movies on Thursdays. And a queen size bed. And Sue from DS. Or, as my friend Kylee Fernholz who is study- ing in Prague said, free water. It isn’t only friends, family and the Cobber community that you’ll miss. There are things that you take for granted now that you don’t even realize until you’re gone.

Also, every day isn’t going to be an adventure. Adapting to a new place is hard, and most of us don’t have all the money in the world to blow in a new country. You’ll definitely have days when you spend a few too many hours watching Netflix or when you don’t want to spend the extra $20 to go out with friends. Or, maybe your apartment has mold and you and your roommates need to spend the afternoon scrubbing the ground and shower (yes, that happened). Either way, you’ll have your share of adventuring, but you’ll also have your share of completely average days.

Lastly, even with all the amazing new things happening around you, at times you might feel like you’re missing out. It’s almost this “life goes on without you” feeling when you see people at home celebrating homecoming or your family carving pumpkins for Halloween. Or, if not missing out, you might feel like you’re falling behind. Most of my classes are evaluated by one final paper or exam. I’m not complaining, but it feels very weird to not be actively practicing or studying for subjects that pertain directly to my major. Bur, at the same time, I’m currently writing a paper on the rule of Queen Elizabeth and her relationship with her Court. When would I ever be granted the opportunity to learn about her again?

I want to end by saying: STUDYING ABROAD IS STILL TRULY A WONDERFUL THING. Even people who I’ve talked to who didn’t have a great time abroad admit that it’s an invaluable experience. I’d never discourage someone from studying abroad, and I personally have been loving it, but I’m just saying — be prepared to miss Target more than anything.

This article was submitted by Katelyn Kasella, contributing writer.

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