Who I Am
I am Marketing major and Communication and Journalism minor at the University of St. Thomas and recently returned from my semester abroad in London. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend a semester away from home my junior year; I went back and forth with the idea in the months leading up to registration. The idea of going somewhere unknown, without knowing anyone, was very frightening. Then, I kept hearing everyone in my family talk about their semesters abroad and how it was the “time of their life.” Ultimately, I decided it would be good to get out of my comfort zone and grow as a person, even though I wasn't sure if I was ready. My London semester ended up being one of the most eye-opening and incredible experiences of my life. I made so many amazing friends, saw breath-taking places and learned about myself as a person. Every day was an adventure; whoever has the chance to study abroad needs to take advantage of it.
I can’t begin describing the entire experience of “traveling abroad”. When I first arrived in London EVERYTHING seemed new and different, it was like I was in an entirely new world. Not only was I trying to bond with fellow students, but I was trying to use the tube and get the lay of the land. Everyone kept looking at me like I was a tourist because I’m sure it was very obvious that I was! The tube is a weird place for someone who has never used public transportation. As time went on, I got more comfortable with being independent, traveling and figuring things out for myself. Our group was bonding as well, which made everything more fun! We started going on weekend trips to other countries and to places around the United Kingdom. Throughout my time abroad I was in a total of nine different countries, each left me with different life–long memories. There are definitely highs and lows when traveling, but you learn a lot along the way. It’s all about being comfortable with the uncomfortable.
When traveling, you need to take life as it comes and fully immerse yourself in the different cultures. Talk to locals, go to local pubs and try to understand their traditions. Personally, I learned how to be a lot more confident, independent and became more comfortable out of my comfort zone. These are all skills I can use for the rest of my life, whether that be personally or professionally. All three were needed each day due to new challenges, however, each day also more adventure.