Half-Way There

I can’t believe my abroad experience is already half way over. It has flown by. While I have learned a lot about myself, and everything else under the sun, here are some of the biggest takeaways I have gained from this experience.

My first takeaway is the importance of taking a break. It can be really easy to overwhelm yourself while abroad. Everything is new, everything is different, everything is exciting, and everything can be really hard. On this trip, I have learned that it is okay to not go out every night, or not kill yourself to see every building or museum. You are there first and foremost to learn, but it is also important to explore. Taking a few nights to myself each week and catching up on sleep or homework proved to be the absolute best decision for me. So my first takeaway is don’t overwhelm yourself with everything that you want to do or that needs to get done and take a break. After all, if you are super stressed you’re never going to do your best.

My second takeaway is to be flexible. I didn’t know anyone really well at the start of this trip and it made it really difficult to make plans with people. Especially when most others knew someone with them. This lead to a lot of changing of plans whenever anyone wanted to do something together. This was really frustrating at first, but as the pattern continued I got better at handling it. So if you’re someone like me, who loves to have every detail planned out, expect changes and be cool with it.

My third and final takeaway is that culture shook is a thing for people, even if you’re only there for two months. There is a lot to be said for the loss of a familiar place, people, and every little thing that you’re used to. It can make you feel isolated or alone. The most important thing to remember is that, it is not permanent and that you are not alone. There are other people on your trip experiencing the same feelings that you are. Its totally normal, you are thousands of miles from home. So my third takeaway includes anticipating this and the importance of talking to other people about it.

I feel like I have learned a lot about myself on this trip. I am grateful for all the things that I have learned so far and I can’t wait to see what new things are around the corner for the other half of this trip!me at Retiro