Studying abroad can be one of the best things to happen to you if you let it. Before my adventure, I was terrified. I could phantom leaving everything I knew behind and living in a culture I knew virtually nothing about. Still, the curious and adventurous side of me prevailed. Whenever I thought about how Australia just wasn’t for me, I remembered how much I loved exploring and discovering new things. It turns out that studying abroad gave me the most valuable life lessons I’ll forever be thankful for.
1. It taught me independence is harder than I thought
When you’re a kid, a teenager, and a young adult, all you want to do is be independent and live your own life. You’re confident you can do it better than your parents and that you’ve got everything figured out. Well, turns out it’s not so easy. The main thing I looked forward to when I went to Perth is that I would be able to do anything the way I wanted to. No more parents, no more rules, no more nothing!
Turns out that meant I needed to learn to budget my money so I actually had something to eat, organize my time so I could clean up and still have time to study and socialize. Now I value and appreciate my parents’ hard work much more.
2. It taught me to say “yes”
Being spontaneous was never really my thing. In retrospect, I missed out on a lot of fun opportunities and some amazing people just because I was too afraid to say “yes” because it didn’t fit into the imaginary plan I had in my head. When you’re abroad, the only way to meet people and actually gain some new experiences and memories is to say “yes” more.
It was a bit scary at first, but then I discovered how thrilling and exciting life can actually be! Exploring Perth on foot will forever be one of the best things I said “yes” to. We bonded so much, discovered new hang out spots, took lots of pictures, got to know the city on a deeper level, and came out of the experience with a lot of new inside jokes. Had I said “no”, I would have forever been on the outside of the best friend group I’ve ever been apart of.
3. It taught me how to be creative
I was never really good at seeing the creative and imaginative side of things. If people are divided into dreamers and realists, I was always a realist. That changed after I took a screen and media course in Perth. After it, I realized that getting your head stuck in the clouds once in a while isn’t half bad.
I gained a whole new perspective on life and on everything I do. Today, I can’t look at anything without also observing the creative side of it. Let’s not forget to mention that I’ve grown to appreciate art for art much more. Every movie or show I watch has to have some kind of creative aspect to it for me to enjoy it, I’m no longer keen on just empty-humoured sitcoms.
4. It taught me to trust myself
When you’re in a different country all by yourself, first you inevitably go through an identity crisis. This is the first time in your life that you’ve been completely by yourself with everything you find comforting left behind in your home country. I was terrified and kept doubting every decision I made. But you know what? Nothing bad happened. So I gradually started to trust myself and my decision-making skills.
Now, I can always trust my own judgement to get me through any situation I’m in. Sure, it’s always nice to get some advice from friends but I no longer if I’m doing the right thing. Whether it’s an important life question or just deciding what I should have for dinner, I’m confident in my sense of judgement. Trusting yourself is one of the most freeing feelings in the world, let me tell you.
As you can see, studying abroad teaches you a lot of things. You go there as one person and come back as someone completely different. I learned so much about myself that I otherwise wouldn’t have, but also about the world around me. I’ll forever feel a strong and deep emotional connection to Perth because it made me who I am today. Finally, I’m forever thankful to myself that I took the leap of faith and didn’t let fear get the best of me.