I’ve spent the last 5 months traveling the world. I have been to 10 countries, 44 cities, and have gained an endless amount of friendships. Here are a few things I have learned:

  1. Even if you don’t speak the language, smiling means the same thing no matter where you are. No matter where I traveled, people would still smile at each other regardless if they knew each other or not.
  2. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s not everyday that you get to live in a different country, so take advantage of this amazing venture. Study hard but don’t hold yourself back from exploring all that you can and taking in as much as you possibly can. Make the moments last because it goes by fast, like really really fast.
  3. I learned to take risks. Studying abroad itself can feel a bit risky. Living with people you don’t know, often in a language you don’t speak. But during my time studying abroad, my best memories were times when I took some extra risks.
  4. Live in the moment. There were so many people on my program that would plan every weekend months in advance. Yes it may have saved them a few euros here and there. But honestly, some of my favorite trips were from last minute planning. I remember it was a thursday night on the third week in Italy and some of my friends and I were studying in the library with no plans for the weekend and less than 12 hours were in Brussels.
  5. While maneuvering through several international airports and navigating through the cities of a foreign country, you begin to realize that you are way more resourceful than you thought. I learned how to get around the city, learned the metro system in different countries, and became dependent on myself in a country where I didn’t know many people.

As excited as I am to be home, I will forever cherish my memories of being abroad. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. Just remember, live in the moment, be spontaneous and experience the world as much as you can while you are there.