A year ago this week I embarked on my study abroad adventure in the USA. It was the most life-changing experience I’ve ever had and I believe I came away from it a stronger, more inspired and ambitious person. Yet, it all happened so fast that it feels like it didn’t happen at all, as though it was a very surreal dream.
One year on I am still in touch with my two best friends I met over there, Vivian from Singapore and Meaghan from Australia. These two friends have helped me overcome a lot within the last few months, have seen me at my worst and who have shared some of my greatest moments with me. Vivian is even coming over to the UK to stay with me while she studies for a postgraduate degree.
I remember the day I arrived in the States all too well. I had worn my comfiest, albeit warmest, clothes for the 8-hour flight across the Atlantic, only to arrive in one of the warmest places I had ever been. I found a (really crazy) taxi driver who took me on one of the scariest and most expensive taxi journeys of my life. I arrived on campus and reported to an office that I had earlier stalked on google maps to be met by one of my ‘resident advisors’ who took me to my room and showed me around what was to be my home for the following four months. It was after that moment, when I was all alone in my box room, having just travelled further than I had ever travelled in my life, that I broke down in tears to my parents over Skype.
I was in a different mindset back then that I was able to adapt to the new culture and so that the days could pass quickly. If you told me that I was going to be flying out to America tomorrow to live, eat, work, sleep, then I’m not sure I would be able to do it. I’m not sure how long it would take me to settle back into things. However, studying abroad has taught me a variety of things about myself, other people and the world – things that only a study abroad semester can teach you.
It had been a dream of mine to study in the land that has been my fascination for so many years. I would highly recommend to anyone to study abroad. If in doubt, fill out the application form regardless and see how far it takes you.