It feels surreal to have come to the end of my study abroad experience. This year was something I dreamed of and anticipated for so long. It’s weird to now be at the definitive end of that chapter. I will be cliche and describe this year as amazing. It certainly had some very high highs and some very low lows but it was the year I needed. I’m deeply grateful to have been able to have this experience. I’ve spent a lot of my time since coming back reflecting. So with this in mind, I present to you both my favorite parts about studying abroad and reasons why I think studying abroad is so worth it. I hope this helps any prospective study abroad students in their decision.
The personal growth: Studying abroad pushes you to grow in ways not possible within the routine of typical college life. Being in novel scenarios (i.e. moving to a new country and starting over) brings out novel sides of yourself. This teaches you a lot about who you are. I can at least say this was the case for me. At school, I’m typically busier with classes, work, and club meetings. With those things on pause this year, I had a lot more me time. I got to really explore what good me time looks like. My year abroad also made me rethink what I want the next stage of my life to look like, especially as a rising senior. As equally nervous as I am about what’s next, I am also so excited to see what the future holds.
The people you’ll meet: I met some incredible people over this past year. I think the relationships you build abroad are some of the most special because you are at such a unique time in your life. You are bonded quickly by the distinct experience of figuring out a new place together. The bittersweet side to this however is having to separate when the program comes to an end. However, even if only for a short season, I am so glad I got to meet all the people I encountered this year.
Oh, the places you’ll go! I’ve gotten to see a lot of beautiful sights this semester. Some highlights include my first shooting stars in northern Denmark, the greenery of El Retiro Park in Madrid, and some great sunsets right outside my apartment. Studying abroad brought me places I never could have imagined. This has left me with a lasting appreciation of the world around me. Since being home, I’ve found myself more mindful of the beauty of my community.
I am so deeply grateful to have been the chance to do this. Thank you to FEA for helping me on this journey. If any of you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out on Instagram (@a.ogbue). Cheers to the next chapter!