Study abroad… have you heard about it? It changes your life. Yeah, I’m sure you have heard that one before. The thing is it's true, travel does something to you.
I used to sit on that committee that decided who the student speaker would be at commencement. There was a student that had something in his speech that I still remember to this day: (this won’t be his exact words and I wish I still had his name because he deserves major credits), “I needed a challenge because it is in the spirit of challenge where we find who we are and discover all that we can become.” We should all be seeking our spirit of challenge and I believe the best way to really do that is by studying abroad.
Travel wherever you can, challenge yourself and stop trying to find excuses that keep you in the comfortable bubble that you are living in. Study abroad opens your mind, leads you down roads you didn’t know existed and ultimately makes you realize that you should always chase your passions. How can we see, find, and discover those things if we never challenge ourselves? And if you really think study abroad won’t do anything for you, talk to anyone who has done it and they will tell you differently. I guarantee it.
Need another reason to go abroad? This weekend I had the chance to go to Krakow, Poland. During my trip, I met an entrepreneur who has been working as a digital nomad and traveling all over the world. We got to talking and I asked them what the biggest takeaway from traveling has been, they immediately answered saying that they wish everyone would travel, at least once in their life, because then people would better understand the world and there would be a lot fewer problems. – Of course, you don’t know this person, so I’m sure this story isn’t making you race to the study abroad office right now, but what I am saying is this person has been traveling the world for the past two years and their response proves that travel changes you. You learn, you explore, and you discover more than you ever can try to describe to others until you do it.
Give yourself the chance to do something that you will never regret, I promise you’ll come back a different person than when you left.
Katherine Agey is an enterprise leadership major at the University of Iowa. A Des Moines, IA native, she's spending her semester in Italy on the USAC Reggio Emilia program.
Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.