Since I was a little girl my dream was to study somewhere abroad. I’ve always wanted to visit new places and travel.
And…here I was, right before my graduation, sitting alone in my room and trying to make one of the most important decisions in my life – what to study and where. (If you are reading this article you are probably facing the same choice.)
This has always seemed easy. Hasn’t it? But when I had to face the reality and take the decision on my own everything seemed completely different.
Studying abroad is definitely going to make you step out of your comfort zone whether you want it or not.
Taking the responsibility for your life in your own hands and making steps forward towards your future is like walking into the unknown. A little bit dark and a little bit scary.
I’ve noticed how many people find it difficult to get out of their comfort zone and never approach to do it. Why? Because a) it’s easier not to do anything apart from the things you like, and b) it’s a lot more comfortable this way.
Studying outside of your homeland appears to be pretty different and exciting at the same time and it definitely makes big changes to one’s life. Here are some things that could influence your decision.
You create the rules
Living abroad alone gives you the best opportunity to create the life you have always wished for.
You don’t have to reckon with the decisions of the others. Nobody sets any rules anymore so you are free to create and develop your life the way you like it and want it. You won’t be told when to come home. You won’t be told when to wake up.
You decide everything for yourself.
Being alone in a completely different country without your family can be very intimidating. It’s going to pull you out of your comfort zone. From this moment on you will have to think of yourself as if you are responsible for everything that happens in your life.
You can’t depend on your parents anymore, because it’s about time you got your life in your own hands.
When we live with our parents, we see them as the people who will always take care of us. My mom used to clean my room, cook, wash the dishes, iron my clothes…she did everything for me. Not only this, but my dad drove me everywhere I wanted to go.
I was the princess, he used to tell me.
I could not even call my doctor to make an appointment. I know it seems stupid and it is.
Self-dependence will teach you to depend on yourself, not on your parents or anybody else.
For example, Mom and Dad are not going to wake you up in the morning so you have to do it alone. Nobody is going to do the shopping for you.
Whether you are going to spend all your cash irrationally and end up broke until the end of the month, it’s all your fault.
You know the moments when your parents aren’t at home in the weekend. You sleep until noon, eat junk food ( because you don’t feel like cooking ), watch series, scroll through Instagram and do nothing with your life.
However, when you study abroad you will have to develop a self-discipline unless you want to end up wasting your whole life.
Usually, our parents urge us to do things we don’t like. Anyway, Mom and Dad are not one or two hours away. They are not in the same country. You will have to push yourself doing these things, whether you like it or not.
And surprisingly you would become a lot more motivated, productive and disciplined person than you were before (or exactly the opposite).
As much as we don’t want to admit it, at the beginning it will be really hard to find new friends. I can assure you that this will make you feel pretty uncomfortable and lonely. Pretty lonely.
The perfect moment to get you out of your comfort zone and make new friends is standing right in front of you. At some point, you will get sick of staying at home, eating chips and chocolate while watching everything possible on Netflix and not having anyone to speak to.
Exactly this thing ( hopefully ) is going to push you to talk to someone and ask them to grab coffee with you. Otherwise, you are going to spend next 2 months sitting at home doing the same thing every Friday night.
Another change that is going to occur when you are abroad is that your old friends won’t be with you. You can always get in touch, but to be honest, don’t expect your friendship with them to be the same because you won’t communicate so often and that’s okay.
I can promise you that you will need to get out of your comfort zone very often especially if you go to a country where people don’t speak your native language.
When the only way to communicate with your professors, your friends, and the natives is by speaking their language, you will need to do so, as much as you don’t feel like doing it.
Of course, it is uncomfortable and quite unpleasant at first. They will laugh at you sometimes or won’t understand what you are trying to say. Nevertheless, this teaches you to accept the unpleasant feeling of discomfort.
At some point, you will have no food left so you will have to overcome the fear and go to the supermarket even if you don’t want to.
Or imagine that one day while you are sitting at home, the kitchen door falls down. And now you have to buy tools to repair the door. The only way to do so is by going to the hardware store and explain to the guy there what you need in his language while constantly checking words in the dictionary. Because life sucks and he doesn’t speak English.
Yes, this happened to me. I succeeded somehow using some kind of body language and dictionary. I know it is funny, but at that moment it wasn’t. At least you will start improving your body language skills.
Furthermore, you are going to nod to people most of the time because you won’t understand what they say, even if you have some prior knowledge of the language.
I remember the day I came to Germany. Being alone in a completely different country far away from my family was really stressful and tough at first. I still remember when I had to open my bank account here, I nodded the whole time because I didn’t understand a single word. It still happens to me sometimes.
But I’m glad that I made this choice.
I can promise you that if you study abroad you will have difficulties. It’s going to pull you out of your comfort zone. For sure. And that is a great thing. I’ll repeat it. That’s a great thing because you will feel more and more comfortable each time you have to do it.
It will teach you self-discipline and self-dependence. Some of the most important skills in life.
It will give you new friends and the opportunity to live your life the way you want it.
Remember, the decision is up to you.