As my abroad year is coming to an end (in just 40 days!), I want to write about how this academic year has been the most life-changing period of my life. If you were to tell middle-school me about all these adventures that I have been on–she wouldn’t believe it. If you were to ask high-school me about Denmark, she would probably have no idea where it’s located geographically.
Growing up, I rarely traveled. In Thailand, I grew up in Ayutthaya, a small city near Bangkok. My family and I would take occasional trips to the beach that is 2-3 hours away. We would spend the day there and drive back… For my school breaks (which is once or at most twice a year–the education system in Thailand isn’t as generous as the US), my mom and I would take trips to visit my grandparents in eastern Thailand and spend a few days to a week. These were the travels I was used to–visiting family members or trips to nearby towns. In high school, we didn’t travel much either. Just to give you an idea, I am from California and have never been to San Francisco until I had to do my biometrics (visa related documents) to come to Denmark.
That said, this year has been something so different. I am living in a different country and have been for the past 10 months. I learned a new language that I initially thought I could never understand–now I can read basic signs and hold simple conversations. I am taking classes with people from all over the world, and not just fellow Americans–to name a few nationalities: Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, Chinese, Japanese, Canadians, Russian, Finnish, Laotians, etc. I have a German, Italian, and Chinese roommates–and have had Japanese and Scottish ones. I have held a part-time job abroad for 3 months and currently interning for the past 4 & a half months. I have traveled to so many places in Europe (thank you Ryanair and affordable hostels).
I wish I could put into words how amazing my academic year has been. It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed and I am so thankful that my university does a wonderful job promoting education abroad. This journey has made me realize that there are so many opportunities out there for us all. So many great people in the world we could meet and places we could see if we decide to get outside our comfort zone and try something new!!