I’m back in the states and still jetlagged. I’ve been reflecting on my time abroad and I have no regrets. In many ways, being abroad felt like I was gone for years, but now that I am back, it feels as though I left for New Zealand yesterday. It was such a short time period that was packed with so much experience that when I think back on everything, I find it hard to believe that it all was possible in a span of five months.
Here are some lessons I learned and some advice I would give anyone going abroad.
- It is impossible to see everything while you are abroad. It’s always going to feel like there is more to see or that other people are getting to see more of the country than you are. While this may be the case, it doesn’t matter what you see, it matters who you see it with. I found that my best trips were not about how much was packed into a day or how amazing the activity, but were made in the little details like cooking a breakfast with friends. The company makes the trip, no matter what you are seeing.
- If you are constantly challenging yourself then you are doing it right. The confidence you gain traveling abroad comes from forcing yourself to live outside of your comfort zone. This is already happening for you by living in another country, but it just increases with your experiences. For me, I tried to push myself by getting my dive certification and running a half marathon.
- Take opportunities that are presented to you, especially if you wouldn’t normally do this. If someone asks you to do something, go for it. Join a club that does something you’ve always wanted to try.
- Ask locals “what is something I must do while I’m here?” It’s a great way to find out what the best things in the area are. Also, this question can give you some ideas of things to do that go beyond what is shown on Trip Advisor.
- Make a list of what you are willing to spend a lot of money on. This is something I wish I had planned for before I left. At the beginning of the semester, I quickly figured out what my “must dos” in the country were and the activities I was willing to pay for. This helped with budgeting, but I could have worked out a plan earlier so I could maximize what I bought.
- Lastly, no matter what your major, you can go abroad if you work to make it happen! I am a biomedical engineering major and was told it would be very hard to study abroad, but I was determined to go so I kept working toward making it a reality. It is possible for any engineering major to spend a semester abroad and not fall behind.
New Zealand is truly an amazing country. Auckland is now a place that feels like home to me and I know one day I am going to return.
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<p>I am a biomedical engineering major and a studio art minor. I play field hockey for the University of Rochester and I love to exercise and be outdoors. If I'm not playing field hockey my exercise of choice is running, Crossfit, waterskiing, wakeboarding, skiing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and anything else that gets me outside.</p>