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Get Out of Your Bubble

Have you ever thought about studying abroad? Either if you are considering going abroad for one semester or taking a full course abroad you might have lots of doubts whether it will be the right decision or not. You might be thinking: Is moving away from home a good idea? Is it worth the struggle of finding a new place to stay and making new friends? Can I even adapt to a new culture?

It was not a long time ago when I have decided to move to another country for my studies. I can still remember all the stress before leaving, when I had to say goodbye to everyone at home, knowing that I would not be able to see them for the next 4 months, until I would go home for Christmas. One year and a half later I can say that this turned out to be an amazing experience, which changed my perspective and view over many things. Besides the academic knowledge that you acquire during your study abroad, it also brings benefits to your personal development. Here are some reasons why you should stop worrying and consider studying abroad even for only a few months.

 

You will become more independent

“Most of my friends have decided to continue living with their parents after they finished high school because of the comfort it offers”, says Andreea, an international student at Erasmus University of Rotterdam. “They felt that they did not want to complicate their lives with all the little tasks that you have to take care of when you live on your own, such as cooking, cleaning the house or doing laundry”. Even if this does not sound too exciting, you have to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow and develop as a person. After a few months of living alone you start realizing how much you have changed in such a short period of time. You can no longer rely on your parents to help you when you feel pressured by time or overwhelmed by all the things that you have to get done in one day. You learn how to organize your time, and find a balance between your study, your social life and extracurricular activities. Some students want to be financially independent, and try to find a part-time job besides their studies. For example, Andreea manages to combine her studies with a part-time job as a photographer. She says that “I have never liked the idea of being too dependent on my parents after finishing high school. Having a job taught me responsibility and how to manage both my time and my money. It makes me feel like I have more control over my life.”

 

You learn how to respect other cultures

Living in an international environment, and interacting with people from different cultures can be an eye-opening experience especially if you lived all your life in one city, as I did. By interacting with people from different ethnicities, religions and with completely different stories than yours you learn how to appreciate diversity and respect unalike views. Each person that you meet will bring something new to your life and change the way you see the world. We learn about different cultures in school, but you cannot truly understand them until you come across them. Also, working in a team with people from different backgrounds is going to be a big advantage later on in life, when you will start looking for a job, because it will be easier for you to collaborate with people from all over the world. Despite the conflicts that might occur, cultural differences keep things exciting and interesting because every member of the group has something different and valuable to offer. On top of that you will have friends from all over the world and you get to improve your language skills.

 

Studying abroad broadens your horizons

Once you convince yourself that you are able to live on your own, far away from your family and friends, and you get to know people from all over the world, you start realizing how much traveling can broaden your horizons. By traveling and meeting very diverse people you realize how big the world is and how many things you still have to learn. Also, the whole experience will teach you to be flexible and adapt to any situation you might encounter. You learn how to make friends more easily, and how to be open-minded and accept different people. Not to say that you will get to know your strengths and weaknesses and you will feel more confident in situations that get you out of your comfort zone. Most importantly though, Andreea admits that “studying abroad makes you more aware about what is happening around the world.” You realize that all your life you have lived in this small bubble and when you get out of it you see a completely different side of the story.

 

All these being said, studying abroad might not be an easy experience, but getting out of the comfort zone can only be beneficial for your personal development. Also, for sure it will be a fun experience that will give you the opportunity to broaden and diversify your group of friends. Besides the academic and personal growth you will acquire, you will get the chance to travel and discover the world.

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