What I Learned Outside the Classroom While Studying Abroad

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Earlier this month, I returned from 4 months of studying in the Czech Republic. As expected, it was an unbelievable experience and I will never forget the people I m9934559_set, the places I saw and the amazing experiences I had.

You often hear of people going traveling and ‘finding themselves’ in one way or another. I can’t say this was my case, nor did I expect it to be. However, I did learn a few simple things about myself that I hadn’t initially expected.

  1. Traveling alone is not liberating. It’s terrifying.

I really did not expect to react this way to being by myself to get from point A to point B. I consider myself fairly independent and thought I would absolutely love the chance to adventure solo. While actually being in a new city by yourself can be a lot of fun and you may stumble upon something you might have not had the chance to see if you were with others and on someone else’s schedule, actually getting from one side of Europe to the next is not something I enjoyed venturing into alone. Mind you, I got lost in multiple subway stations, missed a few busses and by the time I got to my destination at 2 AM, my luggage that was shipped prior to my arrival, had not actually arrived. All in all not a great experience.

  1. I am far too reliant on my iPhone.

I formed an unhealthy relationship with my phone years ago. I never truly understood how much I depended on the technology that fit in my pocket until it literally became my lifeline. All at once it became my one source of contact to my family back home, my currency converter, my translator, my camera and of course, my map. Nothing can describe the panic I felt when I was at 10% battery and lost in suburban Munich at midnight trying to find my Air BnB (which I had booked from my phone, of course). I learned over the last 4 months the peace that can come from putting the electronics aside for a bit now and then and refocusing on what’s actually in front of you.

  1. I need structure in my life

If I could be in a new city every week of my life I probably would. Or so I thought before that was my life. As amazing as it was to set off across Europe in planes, trains and busses and wake up at the crack of dawn to make sure not to miss any of the above, it was a bit of a relief to land back home and get back to “real life”. Plus, having the time to actually reflect on the travels is an added bonus.

Do you have any stories or lessons learned while overseas? Let us know below or send me a note at kailaj@idebamarketing.com

– Kaila Joynes, Junior Consultant