During your time abroad, a lot will change. It will be indescribable to those who have never traveled or never ventured out of their comfort zone.
When you come home from studying abroad, you realize how deeply your time overseas has impacted your life. You realize you are no longer the same person you were before — you have changed and you have grown. This growth takes places right before your eyes, almost too quickly to even notice.
When you return home, others might comment on how you seem different or how your trip has changed you. Do not take this offensively; you have grown for the better and it takes some time for other to adjust to these changes. When we travel, we step so far out of our comfort zone that we must readjust ourselves to fit our surroundings. During that readjustment, the changes we make are often permanent parts of who we are from that point forward. Traveling is a gateway to our progressive self and sometimes it takes experiences, such as studying abroad, for these changes to take place.
It took some time for me to understand that, although I did not feel myself changing, once I reflected on who I was before my time abroad, I knew I had come so far. During my time abroad I gained an independence that I never thought possible. That independence grew out of the situation in which I was in a foreign country, unfamiliar with my surroundings and my peers, time zones away from all my family and friends. I realized during my time abroad, not only was I capable of handling my new situation, but I was making the best of it and loving every moment. I was put into a completely new environment and instead of shutting down, I opened up and embraced all of these new experiences.
Before I went abroad, I relied heavily on my family and friends, basing my plans off their movements and choices in life. Now that I have returned, my post-grad plans are open-ended, with all signs pointing to a new city somewhere in the United States waiting to be explored.
Studying abroad opens your eyes to all that you are capable of and all this world has to offer. Making the plan to study abroad is a big step in the right direction towards cultural, geographical and self-exploration.