Travel: to make a journey, typically of some length at home or abroad
Study Abroad: to LIVE a journey for an extended amount of time and take your studies to a place abroad or away from “home”
I’ve been studying abroad in Rome, Italy for a little over two months now. Before I came here, I remember hearing from past students about the “Study Abroad curve.”After hearing about it from numerous others I really took time to contemplate this idea & decided to set goals for myself on what I wanted to take out of study abroad. From the get go, I knew I wanted to know Italy. This wasn’t my time to “see the World,” this was my time to know the World.
So let’s talk a little more about the Study Abroad curve because this is what leads into my main thoughts. For those who don’t know, essentially the Study Abroad curve is a way to describe the emotions you feel while Studying Abroad.
When you first arrive you’re scared & very homesick. I remember that as soon as I stepped off the plane and got onto the shuttle bus to campus, I was so scared. That night I woke up at 4am and was crying hysterically wondering what I had just gotten myself into. I think that this is the Make it or Break it point and most likely you’ve made it!
A week into it, the city you’re in is THE BEST CITY IN THE WORLD. You’re filled with awe and wondering how a city like this exists and how you ever thought any other city was cool. This lasts for a couple weeks.
Then you start using your weekends to travel and you start to see more of Europe (in my case) and you are blown away again and again on how diverse and fun other countries are. You start to want more and more and the prospect of going back to school is dreadful. But you don’t think too much about it because you have time & a dozen more fabulous and fun trips planned.
You keep going and going and learning more and more. Then you hit the midway point after an awesome and jam packed Spring Break and you start to panic (this is where myself and the other JFRC students are now). Your time is starting to tick away so you start to worry that you’re not seeing enough and that you’re wasting your time.
This is the part of Study Abroad that I want to talk about because this is where my peers and I are at right now.
If you read one thing from my post it is this…
sit back, drink a cappuccino and eat a cornetto, and realize that right now, at this very second, you’re in Rome and that’s pretty damn special.
Remember that you’re studying abroad. You’re not just traveling. You’re here to learn to think, live, and breathe like the Italians or even The Europeans. Studying Abroad is way more than just checking different cities off your “bucket list.” Hopefully you chose to come here to better yourself. Remember that your Instagram feed doesn’t really matter and that you didn’t “just stay in Rome this weekend” (sorry but how ridiculous is that comment?!?!).
Immerse yourself and push yourself. Be humble & thankful and have no regrets! Do well in school, but remember that the point of Studying Abroad is to take your learning to the next level- AKA learning mostly outside of the classroom. When we graduate in a few short years, you’re not going to be sitting in classes anymore with the safety blanket of grades-you’re going to be left on your own to take the World as it is and make something of it. You’re going to have to go out every day and learn on your own. You grade yourself.
And guess what?
You already have a semester, or a year, of Study Abroad under your belt, and you’re ahead of the masses. You know how to experience the World, know the World and you know how to learn in this real and tangible way. So don’t waste one second of this experience.
You’re here, right here right now, and you’re SO lucky.
Thanks for reading!