Monday, November 12, 2012
life lessons living abroad
holcad article for this friday :)
Most people reach a point in their life when they wonder "Am I living it right?" Last year I reached that point. I knew I needed to explore a life outside of the twenty years I spent in New Wilmington, PA and Scotland had been on my heart for a couple of years. I mustered up every ounce of courage I had and went through the lengthy procedure to make studying abroad a reality. Before I realized, it was September 1 and the next day I would be boarding a plane to London. I was feeling anxious, nervous, and terrified because it was the first time in my life I had zero expectations for the next four months. Although it was refreshing to go forward without a plan, I almost backed out at the very last minute because I started to doubt whether or not I could handle living in a new country. Thankfully my parents gave me the extra confidence I needed to go through with my plans; I'm so gad I faced my fears and went through with it or I would not be as happy as I am at this very moment.
Studying abroad taught me a lot: I learned all the good, the bad, and the ugly things about myself; I learned how to be completely independent and through the process became a mature adult; I learned to breathe, to relax, and to not stress over the little things; I learned to value each moment spent with a new person; I learned to stay true to myself even when it was easy to re-invent myself; I learned to love people for their flaws, their mistakes, and their differing opinions; I learned to value every good or bad experience as a life lesson; I learned how to live a life full of happiness. Through this experience, I learned more than I thought I ever could about myself-socially, economically, academically, and emotionally. This journey has changed my life in more ways than I thought possible and I would do it all over again if given the opportunity.
As much as I miss my friends and family from home, Scotland is exactly where I needed to be at this point in my life without realizing it before I left. Life takes us on unexpected journeys and gives us unexpected experiences. I knew I would be surrounded by a beautiful landscape, but I did not expect to find immense beauty in the people I have met and the culture of Scotland that I have learned to love. When I go back to the States, I hope I can show everyone how meaningful and beneficial this journey has been for me. I plan to teach my friends ceilidh dances, attempt cooking haggis with my dad, give my mom European fashion tips, and tell stories about all the wonderful friends I've made in Scotland to my close friends at home.
So even if you do not have a specific moment when you ask yourself if you are living the life you want to live, I encourage you to explore the endless options that surround you. Do not be scared to go outside of your comfort zone because you never know what could happen when you do. Neale Donald Walsch once said "life begins where your comfort zone ends"-and he is completely right.