Life provides so many incredible opportunities and we should take them… but not all of them. This post has been on my heart for a while, and I think it’s finally time to put it out into the big world of the Internet: studying abroad was the hardest and worst time of my life.
Let’s just fast-forward past the part where you think I sound ungrateful and horrible by even daring to type those words. On the odd chance that I can reach someone who needs to hear this, I’m going to trek on. Here’s what happened:
I went abroad due to social pressures from school and peers
I’m not placing blame, I went completely on my own accord, but everyone thinks that to go abroad is some crazy rite of passage or a do-or-die life experience that a person can’t pass up.
I knew myself but ignored it. Listen: YOU are your own best research.
Somewhere in my heart, I knew studying abroad for a semester wasn’t my cup of tea—although I did have a few wonderful cups of tea in London and Scotland—but I went anyway.
Still, I did a lot of research beforehand.
During that research phase, part of me hoped to stumble upon a blog of someone with a negative experience, or just an unbiased one, but Google is flooded with people singing high praises to Europe for its life-changing properties.
I guess I have “changed”, but not the way you think
Not because I found the best version of myself in Italy or ate so much pasta that my mind was drugged up on carbs. It’s because I underwent incredible challenges and came out on the other side. This is something that I am grateful for now. And it is tempting to say that it was worth it, but to this day I look back and wish that I had trusted myself more.
This is for anyone. This is for everyone. This is for me.
I’m writing this to myself. I’m writing this to anyone who is on the fence about going abroad and needs a different opinion. I’m writing this to those who have gone abroad and felt lonelier than they have ever been in their lives.
You don’t have to explain yourself
There were multiple reasons that my stay in Italy wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, despite how much I tried to love it. I won’t go into them because I don’t want to depress anyone and I don’t quite have the proper words to go further than what I’ve shared here… I just want you to know that it’s not your fault if you don’t want to go, or if you do go and don’t love it. It’s not your fault if your mental health gets the best of you.