I chose to write this instead of pay attention in class; I know you all are so proud. I can practically feel it through the screen.
Actually what matters about me being in class is at this moment, I am in a class with other past study abroad students; it is a seminar for post-abroad experience students and here I am sitting with these people who share the same or similar experience as I did. I wonder if they ask the same question I do:
I find myself wondering quite a bit these days what I will do with the abroad experience I have gained. Did it actually open any doors for me? What am I going to do now?
So many of the students in my major that I talk to seem to have it all figured out; “I’m going to D.C. to work in a federal agency or government position”, “I’m joining the peace corps”, “I’m doing something super important with my international studies degree that you aren’t.”…
I’ve searched, researched, and tested the possibility of these jobs in my head but all of them seem to fall flat when I think about my life in ten or so years and if they will be something I’ll enjoy. I feel the pressure though; exiting college and becoming successful in a job specific for me sits over my head like that piano in the cartoons hanging on a flimsy rope, waiting to fall on that unsuspecting, goofy cartoon character. But I am not one to settle. I have spent far too much of my precious time already trying to fit myself in a box not made for me.
I’d love to think fate will point me in the right direction eventually. But back to being abroad;
Here’s what studying abroad did do for me:
- Created a more confident person: I was thrown into a foreign place with a foreign language and did just fine. That’s a task not everyone can say they’ve done. Meeting and connecting with people is easier now and I’m not quite as shy as I used to be.
- Gave myself a feeling of value: not that I never had any before, but I transformed abroad, saw amazing things, made amazing adventures. They are now a part of me.
- Learned the world is attainable: if you don’t quite get what I mean, look at the fact that I, a college student with no experience of living abroad or really living far from home, managed this whole journey nearly all on my own.
- Yo puedo hablar español. Con mis amigos que hablan español o sobre mis amigos. If you can’t understand that, well I might have been talking about you. Kidding…
There’s more of course, but these are the ones off the top of my head.
Today in particular, I am quite sad I am not abroad anymore. I have pictures of my favorite memories abroad hanging on the wall in my office. Life was so full of adventure then, there were so many places to go, they were so easy to attain. It was what I always wanted and more.
However life would have no real meaning if things lasted forever.
You wouldn’t value it as much.
And I must move on and figure out the next adventure.
Remember that time I was supposed to write a blog post about my trip to Rome say 4, 5 weeks ago? Yeah, me neither.
Next post. Maybe