Beyond the Instagram Hype: Embracing Authenticity in Your Study Abroad Journey - Essential Advice for Aspiring Adventurers

Emilie Agras headshot
Emilie Agras
September 11, 2023
Strolling home from school, savoring the breathtaking view of St. Peter's Basilica – simply living in the moment.

“I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome. Then she finally got to Rome, and all she did was post pictures for people at home. 'Cause all that mattered was impressin' everybody she's known." - Drake, "Emotionless"

In a world dominated by social media, it's easy to fall into the trap of seeking validation through likes and comments. Drake's infamous lines from "Emotionless" resonate deeply, serving as a poignant reminder of the superficiality that can overshadow the true essence of a study abroad experience. As I embark on my own study abroad adventure, I am eager to offer some valuable advice to fellow students, encouraging them to liberate themselves from the allure of Instagram and instead embrace the genuine authenticity and beauty that await beyond the camera lens.

Living in the Moment:

Yes, capturing and sharing stunning photos on Instagram is undeniably alluring. We want to curate the perfect feed, showcasing ourselves as worldly and adventurous individuals. But let's pause for a moment and reflect on the purpose of studying abroad. It's not just about ticking off destinations on a checklist or impressing our friends back home. It's about immersing ourselves in new cultures, broadening our horizons, and discovering our own personal growth. Engage in conversations with locals, savor the local cuisine, and dance to the rhythm of unfamiliar music. Let go of the need for perfection and surrender to the beautiful imperfections that make each experience unique.

Packing Light, Embracing Spontaneity:

Pack lightly, both in terms of physical belongings and the weight of expectations. Overpacking not only burdens us with unnecessary baggage but also hinders our ability to fully immerse ourselves in the present. Leave room for spontaneity, for unexpected encounters, and for the serendipitous moments that can't be planned or captured in a filtered square.

The Holistic Experience:

Studying abroad is a holistic experience that encompasses not only the academic realm but also personal growth and self-discovery. As we venture into uncharted territories, let's not forget the true essence of our journey. Cherish the connections you make, the friendships you foster, and the cultural insights you gain. Engage in meaningful conversations, participate in local traditions, and be present in every moment.

Authentic Storytelling on Instagram:

Instagram can serve as a platform to document our adventures and share glimpses of our experiences with loved ones back home. But let's strive for authenticity in our storytelling. Let's go beyond the perfectly posed photos and delve into the stories behind them. Let's use Instagram as a means to inspire and educate others, to promote cultural understanding and appreciation, and to create a genuine connection with our followers.

As you embark on your study abroad journey, remember that it's about more than impressing others or curating the perfect Instagram feed. It's about embracing authenticity, personal growth, and the transformative power of the experience. Take Drake's lyrics as a reminder to be more than someone who posts pictures. Be the person who immerses themselves fully in the study abroad journey, creates lasting memories, and leaves a positive impact on their own life and the lives of others.

So, to my fellow students considering studying abroad, as you prepare for this remarkable adventure, remember to look beyond the Instagram hype. Embrace authenticity, live in the moment, and let your study abroad experience become a chapter of self-discovery, cultural appreciation, and lifelong memories.

Bon voyage!

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Emilie Agras headshot

Emilie Agras

Hello! I'm Emilie, a junior at Villanova, passionate about beauty, fashion, adventures, and meeting new people. Fun fact: I studied abroad and lived in London for high school. Can't wait to explore Rome and indulge in the finest gelato!

2023 Fall
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Villanova University
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