Author Bio: Danielle Nolan is a Business Administration Major at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She shares her insights on all the things you may NOT be told before studying abroad.
When you decide to study abroad, you may be told to expect they’ll be the best days of your life, to expect that you’ll travel, explore, and always have fun.
Life at Home Doesn’t Stop
But when you study abroad, they don’t tell you how you’ll be envious of your friends continuing their lives without you. They don’t tell you how life back home in the United States doesn’t stop, how your friends will still get engaged, how your family will still celebrate the holidays, and how friends can still pass away. They won’t tell you how the grading system is completely different and you’re bound to fail your first assignment easing into it. They don’t tell you how as you’re driving down the road experiencing amazing experiences, you’ll miss your mom and wish she was there with you to experience it. You don’t hear about how you missed your favorite charity event that you’ve attended for six years in a row, or how your favorite sports team made it to the finals.
You’ll Discover Your Own Strength
They don’t tell you when you go to a country 9,671 miles away, you discover strength and courage within you that you’ve never known you’ve had.
You grow and blossom into a whole new adult who has to make decisions by yourself, and how you learn it’s okay to say “No.”
They won’t tell you how when you’re abroad, the majority of what you’ll learn isn’t just in the classroom, but through life experiences.
You’ll Meet New Wildlife
They won’t tell you how you get to learn to surf, climb a rainforest, see an Orangutan, touch elephants, or see kangaroos in nature hop across the road. They won’t tell you how you’ll get to hold a koala and learn it’s not a bear.
You’ll Go on Adventures with New Friends
They won’t tell you that, on the gloomiest of days, you’ll go on adventures, hike a mountain, go through a rainforest, or experience the rainbows on a beach. They won’t tell you how you discover the meaning of pure happiness as you run in the rain across a beach with your new best friends as it decides to rain on the sunniest of days, and how you will miss those days the most.
You Won’t Regret It
When you look back at the four months that just happened in the blink of an eye, everything seems worth it. You wouldn’t change any minute of it because it made you who you are in this moment. You will look back, and failing your first paper won’t seem so bad. You will remember sitting on the beach, eating Tim Tams with your best friend and watching the sunset. You will think of completely amazing views as you stand on the top of a beautiful mountain, surrounded by flowers and waterfalls.
They won’t tell you that you’ll have grown so much, how you’ve overcome many challenges, and the little things don’t seem to be such an issue anymore. They won’t tell you that you’ll be a completely more independent person.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Danielle spent Spring 2018 in our Semester on the Gold Coast program at Bond University in Queensland, Australia, with her (now) fiancé. Check out their engagement video!