In my existence, crossing the street always consisted of looking left, looking right, then looking left again. May 31, 2016, I touched down in London town. Imagine my surprise when the motion of looking left, first, was no longer the norm. I was aware of this difference before arriving in London, but experiencing it was completely different.
With that said, experiences are truly invaluable.
For all students who have already seized the opportunity to study or travel to a different country, kudos to you. For students debating the opportunity, what are you waiting for? It’s understandable that there are many variables that dictate the reasons not to go abroad, but whatever the reasons may be, I urge you to find ways through it.
Think of it like this: Going abroad is an investment in yourself. And this is why:
1. You learn to accept challenges
Sometimes, you may even welcome these challenges with open arms. Being in a new place brings uncertainties. It exercises your instinct to fight or flight. More often than not, if you’re doing it right, you’ll stand and fight. Before you know it, the things you once saw as challenges will become a story worth sharing.
2. You level-up on self-confidence
Confidence is one of those skills you can’t teach. You have to learn by doing. Arguably, I’d say confidence and self-trust go hand in hand. For students, confidence and trust is something we must find before the day we walk across the stage. It’s a fundamental skill needed for success in our professional lives, personal lives, and overall well-being.Whether you’re traveling with a group, a friend, or solo, you must learn to be confident in your decisions and trust that those decisions will meet your expectations.
3. You expand your network
Personally, I genuinely enjoy creating lasting connections with people I meet because people teach me things I don’t know. In other words, I like making new friends and I like learning from them. Going abroad will expand your network to opposite ends of the earth. The network you create abroad will most likely be a diverse group of individuals who will educate you on the most interesting, mind-bending things. It’s learning, without the textbooks. The real deal.
4. You value experiences over things
The saying “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” speak volumes. Going abroad means taking yourself out of the comfort of your own space and abandoning every day luxuries. The ability to drive everywhere, the familiarity of your own bed, and 24/7 Wi-Fi? Those are all luxuries. Slowly, you learn that prioritizing experiences beats the latest iPhone any day.
My dad once told me to value my education because the knowledge I gain is something no one can ever take away from me. Going abroad is the same. While traveling, you begin to see the world with new eyes. The memories and experiences are yours and yours only. Investing in something that can never be taken away is an investment worth taking.
6 countries. 11 cities. 53 days abroad. 100% satisfied. This is how I invested in myself this summer.
Originally published and featured here on LinkedIn Pulse, #StudentVoices Editorial Topic of the Month.