Traveling and living abroad are enriching experiences that help us to grow personally, professionally and socially. Interacting in foreign cultures teaches us to embrace and celebrate diversity and become more open-minded towards people who lead lifestyles that are different from our own. It is also a time for us to learn valuable life lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom. This being said, studying abroad is a great opportunity for students to open the door to travel and discover the many benefits that living abroad can provide. If you are a student, Auburn Abroad offers several study abroad opportunities that appeal to all majors. No matter where you go, here are some life lessons we can all take away from our study abroad experiences:
(Photo: This picture of Paris, France was taken on an Auburn University Exchange Program. Captured by Laura Weaver.)
1. No matter where you go, people are the same at heart.
We all experience life the same way. We have the same emotions, desires, and uncertainties about life. We all want to love and be loved. We all want to be understood and appreciated. Despite where a person comes from, what their religion is, the color of their skin, or the status of their wealth, we are all in this same human condition.
2. Traveling helps you appreciate home.
Sometimes being in a faraway place can bring you right back home, even if it is only in our minds. When you live in a foreign place for an extended period of time, you think often of the family and good memories in your hometown, and it starts to become a comfort to you. Home becomes a beloved place of nostalgia, magic, and love.
3. You're never completely satisfied again.
Part of your heart stays everywhere you ever visit, and the place becomes a part of you. Never again are you content to remain in the same place because you will always miss something about the other place(s).
For example, sophomore Alex Harris, who studied abroad in Fall 2014 says he is glad to be home, but he frequently misses certain things about his time abroad. "Every morning, I miss being able to roll out of bed and enjoy an awesome view of the Eiffel Tower while I enjoy a Macotte aux Pommes," he says.
4. Memories are more important than money.
Usually, money and finances feel like they are close to minimum while you are abroad. There is always another city to visit or and event to attend, and unfortunately these things cost money. However, when you return home, you don't remember what your bank statements looked like; you remember the wonderful experiences you had and the places you visited. These memories are priceless and can never be taken away.
5. Life begins when you step out of your comfort zone.
If you branch out from your usual, ordinary routine, you discover that you can do things you never imagined. You try things you wouldn't usually try and do things you wouldn't ordinarily do, and before you realize it, you are a changed, more confident person.
6. There is more than one way of doing something.
Our way is not always the best way. Different is good. Studying abroad causes your perspectives to broaden and helps you easily adapt to new and unfamiliar situations. You start to become less biased and more flexible and tolerant.
7. We occupy a small space in this world.
In reality, we are just a speck in the universe, a drop in a vast ocean. The more you travel the more you realize just how big the world really is. You learn many lessons about modesty and humility.
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