Now entering my last two weeks of studying abroad in the United Kingdom, I have done a substantial amount of reflecting on my experiences, exploration, and learning, and the one thing that holds the most significance for me has been my decisions. Deciding whether to go to another city in England, a market, a cafe, a West End show, and so much more has permeated my experience abroad. Whether good or bad, my decision-making process abroad has opened me immensely and changed how I make decisions.
Before studying abroad, I was very hesitant to make decisions. I was terrified of choosing the wrong decision in any scenario, no matter how big or small, so I would constantly stop myself from having new experiences, meeting new people, and going to new places because of my fear of choosing the incorrect thing. I feel that in our modern-day society, correctness is valued more than incorrectness, and we strive for perfection in every aspect of our lives, especially when making decisions. Therefore, I often played it safe in every decision I made while in university. I felt that I had to live perfectly in our perfect society and make perfect decisions in my perfect life. However, coming abroad, I shed my skin like a snake and abandoned my decision-making life vest!
Being alone in a new country away from my friends and family felt like a release of judgment and disapproval. No one could condemn me for my decisions or fiercely shake their head in disagreement. For the first time in my life, I felt free to be me and do the things I love to do whether that be traveling to a new city alone or dancing in the park because I am happy. I no longer felt hesitant or nervous to make decisions, they came to me naturally. I did not have to think about what my parents thought of me doing a day trip out of the city alone to Brighton, England, or what my friends would think of my new afro hairstyle abroad, I was in a place of peace and happiness. Decision-making became, shockingly, a fun thing for me, because I knew whatever decision I made would be true to my passion and hopes, no one could sway or influence me. If I wanted to go to a museum, market, festival, restaurant, theater, or even a party, I went! Exploring my new country allowed me the space to go even further with my freedom in decision-making and choosing things that would normally be out of my comfort zone. For example, going to a theater workshop in a new country was quite scary to me, however, I realized in the end that my experience was not daunting, but fun and allowed me to make new friends internationally.
Reflecting on my last eleven weeks, my growth in decision-making has allowed me to have the best experiences from visiting Brighton Beach, seeing “Wicked” on the West End, and trying new cultural foods. Going back home in three weeks, I am going back more adventurous, confident, and daring. I thank my time abroad and the Fund for Education Abroad for supporting me through my growth.