6 weeks ago I had never been outside of the country. In a few weeks, I will be able to say that I successfully lived and worked in a foreign country on my own.
Perhaps this is repetitive or cliché, but you really do learn so much from travelling. 1) You learn about the culture and the language of the country 2) you inevitably learn more about yourself and 3) because of my internship, I’ve learned so much about the work culture and industy, as well. Though it took a lot of work to get here, I know that it has 100% been worth it.
As I mentioned, I had very little travel experience before this trip. That’s not to say that I didn’t want to travel, I just never had the time to. I’ve been studying the French language and culture for a while now, so Paris has been a goal of mine for about 8 years or so. Sometimes I still wake up amazed that I am living here.
I now can attest to the importance of travel and I suggest that, if possible, to travel alone at some point in your life. As a twin, I haven’t been “alone” a lot. This is the first time where I have really felt autonomous and independent and though I miss my sister that independence and the skills I’ve learned are something that I am really thankful for. When you are all by yourself in a foreign place, you really have no choice but to succeed. That means there is a lot of personal growth and development and I can confidently say that this experience has changed me in a better way.
Travelling, though, by no means is always “easy.” It’s expensive, it’s difficult to plan, and if you don’t speak the language, it is even more challenging. With that being said, my advice to anyone is that if you want to travel, find the means to. Whether this means picking up an extra job to save up or adding another language course to your schedule, do it. Stay up late and apply for any and all scholarships. Even if it scares you, do it. This experience is as “real world” as it comes and it’s prepared for a multitude of things that neither a class nor the United States could prepare me for alone.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons during my time abroad. Yet, I think my biggest take away is being comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s kind of an oxymoron, I know, but what I am trying to say is that the most challenging and difficult and uncomfortable things have the biggest impact on you. I’m also positive that I can handle any situation in the United States now, as nothing is more awkward or confusing as an awkward or confusing situation in a foreign place in a foreign language.
When you travel you open your mind, heart, and soul. What else could you buy that’s guaranteed to give you the same effect?