“Where ever you are, there you are” is a quote that I’ve seen multiple times while scrolling on tiktok or pinterest that has made me raise an eyebrow at what that could even mean. The statement seems to be redundant because, of course where ever I am is where I am. But just recently I saw this quote again, and the true meaning finally struck me and has been floating in my mind. I decided to study abroad this semester very spontaneously. I’ve known for a few years now that I wanted to study abroad but I didn’t exactly know when or how. I’m not one of those people whose been slaving away at my part-time job for years, saving up every penny just for the study abroad experience and I haven’t been quoted as a child dreaming of my time thousands of miles away. In fact, I decided I was going to study abroad just weeks before I submitted my application in august. This decision was made after a string of events in my life that when put all together, make up some of the hardest times I’ve lived through. Growing up in a small town that provides a nice and cushioned bubble for you to live in often creates a sense of boredom and therefore an association with the bad in your life. The lingering thought of “this town is the problem” constantly circles back into your mind. It’s easy to romanticize this idea that once you leave your hometown, everything will change and everything will be better. You’ll finally be able to “live your best life”. Photos and videos presenting the highlight reels of people doing just that are posted in excess on your feed and you think, that is what I need and that is what I’m going to do.
That will fix all my problems.
The hard part of this mindset is that, while going abroad is likely going to be an amazing time filled with amazing people, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and pinch-me moments, beneath the surface of everything you do, is you. The same you who climbs into your bed at home every night, the same you who cries and laughs, the same you who has dislikes and likes, needs alone time or doesn’t. No matter where you are, you still follow. The version of you who exists in your hometown or college town is the same you who will stand under the twinkling Eiffel tower. The same you who shed tears from the hard exam you just took, is the same you who will take more flights in 3 months than your entire life. You are still bubbling beneath the surface of all of these out-of-body moments that often come when studying abroad.
Where ever you are, there you are.
No matter how much you yearn to run from your problems or use experiences in new places as a form of escapism. You still lurk beneath the surface. And though my language sounds eerie and daunting, you need to look after you. While abroad, it is so important to not forget and dismiss the version of you that existed before you stepped on that plane to start this new journey. Keep connected with the people you love and the things you miss because eventually, the you that existed before you came abroad will be the version you step back into. There will come a day when you step on a plane to take you not to a brand new country filled with brand new things, but rather to every single thing you know, including yourself. Studying abroad is a blessing and there are so, so many things I am grateful for every single day. While the goal of living in the moment and trying to experience as much as I can while here still stands, it is so important to also not neglect myself outside of abroad. You’re only abroad once is a true statement to live by, but you’ll enjoy your time so much more if you take the time to give yourself what you need and nurture yourself.
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Hi! My name is Emma Crawford. I'm a sophomore comm studies major from Pennsylvania and Ill be studying abroad in London. I am a lifelong Swiftie, lover of coffee, and always down to try something new. I am so excited to explore London and other countries in Europe!