1. You will surprise yourself.
I grew up in a tight-knit beach town; one that I never anticipated would be so difficult to leave. When I graduated high school, I made the bold decision to attend college 8 hours away from my home and all that I had ever known. Little did I know, two years down the road, I would be studying abroad, traveling across the world to embark on a new adventure. The day I left, I thoroughly questioned my decision. I questioned my ability to make friends, live independently and be away from my parents for four incredibly long months. However, no one ever told me that going abroad would be just what I needed. I found unimaginably amazing friends. I found that I thrived independently. And most importantly, it took distance and separation from my parents to appreciate just how great they really are.
2. Friends that become family.
I did not know a single soul going on my abroad program. That excited and absolutely terrified me all at once. One of the reasons I decided on the trip was because I couldn’t exactly find “my place” on campus. I didn’t have a close group of friends and I felt extremely out of place at times. After about a week abroad, I found amazing friends; not one or two or three but forty five new friends with whom I shared this scary and life-changing experience. After four months of living, eating, sleeping and traveling with the same people, they all became my family. Studying abroad introduces you to people you never knew you needed.
3. The Food.
There’s a good chance you will come back from your abroad trip 20+ pounds heavier than the day you left. You have every opportunity twirl your fork through a plate of delicious pasta, attempt to fit your mouth around a massively delicious bratwurst, enjoy a mouth watering crepe or even dive into a cup of world-famous gelato. You would think that with all of the walking and sight-seeing, the calories would burn off, right? Wrong. Don’t worry about the pounds; they’ll come off later. Enjoy each and every bite because American food just doesn’t compare!
4. You will become a multi-tasking expert.
You will find that you are capable of a whole lot more than you ever anticipated. You will learn how to do your reading for class while you’re jet setting to Prague. You will learn how to navigate through a city on water and become a master of foreign public transportation. Most of all, you will learn to plan weekend trips, book flights and hotel rooms, travel and maintain a phenomenal set of grades while doing so.
5. You will find yourself.
You will find that a little time alone can put your mind in the right place. You will find that a shot of espresso is all you need to keep you awake for the European night-life. You will find that no Bellini compares to the Bellini a Venetian can make. You will find that you can go weeks without dwelling on that boy back home. Above all else, you will find yourself and you will absolutely love the person that you’ve become.