The Unspoken Truth About Studying Abroad

Zoey Tyson-Taylor
December 13, 2021
Giverny Garden

The journey of studying abroad is a big one, even exciting for most. You have all these ideas and views of how your study abroad journey is going to go. The kinds of friends you’re going to make, the food you’re going to eat, and the places that you’ll be able to explore. Those are the many things people think of when studying abroad. I was one of those people, and these things are mostly true.

When I mean some of those things are true, I am talking about your experiences and how you make them. Sometimes you must take chances and hope they have good results. When I talk about the unspoken truths, I mean the things that people don’t talk about. Also, the things that are there, but many act like aren’t there.  

Money is one of those topics that create the elephant in the room for most people. Either they don’t want to talk about it or they talk too much about it. What most people don’t realize is that money matters in terms of studying abroad. You need money to study abroad and money to survive while you are in your respected countries. It’s a topic that’s hard for people to bring up because you don’t want to be offensive or judgmental. I won’t get too much into it, but being abroad can teach you about responsibility at all levels, even money.  Just know that when it comes to money, it’s almost like a taboo thing that doesn’t exist.

During my time studying abroad, I saw many of my friends have family and friends come to visit them. Some of those times, it made me think of how nice it would have been if I had that. Not everybody is going to have family come to visit them. Not everyone’s family has the funding to just do a plane trip and back for fun. For some, studying abroad is their one in a lifetime experience that they may have. It’s almost like the topic with money, but you just end up glossing it over like it’s not a big deal.

When you’re studying abroad, many thoughts go through your head when you are adjusting to a new country. One of those many things is whether or not you’ll make new friends in a strange new country. Before I got to Paris, I didn’t think about whether or not I would make friends. I was trying to be optimistic and hoped that I would have a few people I could talk to or hang out with. I was lucky enough to find a group of people I could call my group or squad of friends. If I had not put myself out there, I wouldn’t have had the experience that I have now. Not many people have the best time studying abroad because they don’t find the right people to hang out with. It’s especially hard to have the confidence in speaking with people who may not speak the same language as you.

One of the last few points is that you may not always love the city that you’re in. Having lived in Paris for a while, I had to learn a few things. Also, it took me a long time to finally fall in love with a city that many of my close friends had a connection with. Every place you live in you’ll have a love-hate relationship with, but it’s which side of the coin will win.

Studying abroad is a make-what-you-want-to experience and sometimes a how-you-make-it journey. Not everyone’s experience is going to be the same. Not everyone is going to want to do the same things. Studying abroad is doing what you can with the time you have and being positive that the experience that you’re having is going to be the best one yet. I am enjoying my experience and I know that this is my once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Zoey Tyson-Taylor

<p>Bonjour Mes Amies! My name is Zoey Tyson-Taylor and I’m a senior studying at Hollins University, majoring in Business and History. Don’t worry, I know it’s a weird combo! I am studying abroad in Paris this Fall of 2021. I am so excited to be sharing my journey with you all! My favorite things are my family, language learning, and good food. But my one true love is ice cream…</p>

2021 Fall
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Hollins University
Williamsburg, VA
International Business
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