In the same way that distance makes the heart grow fonder, I think distance makes our eyes clearer; it has given me the clarity to learn about my life, my values, and who I am. This is something that has taken me off guard. I assumed that being in a new place meant that people wouldn’t fully know the real me because my time abroad is temporary. Funny enough, my classmates and I have grown very close. I think it is because we are so far away from what we know, but we’re all dealing with that in different ways, because as Americans, we all have diverse backgrounds- ethnically, religiously, academically. I really value the deep talks we have. Whenever I share a part of my life with either another study abroad student or an Indian local, it forces me to reflect on my life. While trying to articulate who I am, I’m learning how to communicate.
Communication is everything. Studying abroad is all about communication, and there’s no other way to sum it up. Whether it is trying to communicate to an auto rickshaw driver my destination, to my host mom that I love her food but that I’m full, to my friends and family back home that I do miss them, or to a new acquaintance who I am, communication is everywhere. And language is not the biggest barrier to it.
Being in a study abroad program of 6 students has cultivated a beautifully connected group. We eat together, sleep together, travel together, and are always working together. Our group dynamic is something special. Usually in a teamwork setting, I’m the one who keeps her head down and just does her part. Now I’m fully invested in my team. When we work together, it isn’t a separate, scheduled part of my day; it is every interaction that affects the group, major or minor. My team depends on me and I depend on my team.
Things I’m learning about myself:
My family and community mean the world to me.
I love learning languages.
I talk about Ethiopia a lot.
I am an emotional person.
I need to work on my communication skills.
I love to have quiet time to read, journal, and reflect.