This weekend I’m speaking at the New England Study Abroad ReEntry Conference, offering
tips for avoiding the mistakes I’ve made words of wisdom to a group of students who just returned from studying abroad. I’m planning to talk about how travel gives us perspective, and how each one of us can harness that perspective to lead a better life going forward.
This topic is close to my heart because I wouldn’t be where I am now had I not studied abroad in Cameroon during college. Those four months in central Africa in 2002 changed my life, setting me on my own unique path. Among other things, I learned that pushing myself outside my comfort zone is one of the best ways to find fulfillment.
But not all of us have the good fortune of studying abroad while at university. And I’ve heard several people lament recently that not studying abroad is one of their biggest regrets.
Here’s the good news if you didn’t study abroad: You still have the chance to create that life-changing experience for yourself.
Just because you didn’t visit another country while you were in college doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. Actually, that’s all the more reason to make it happen. Whether you go with a program or travel independently like I do, your opportunity to see the world hasn’t passed. It’s right in front of your nose.
Of course, it will take a bit more work now to make it happen; no one’s going to work out all the details for you like they might if you were a university student. But your study abroad experience is still oh-so-available to you.
I’m starting to scheme on my next big trip, which looks like it might be to East or southern Africa, possibly in March. It’s been a long while since I went somewhere new, and this will be my first opportunity to see just how remote my business can really be. Plus, a reader recently commented that she misses my travel-related posts, and I prefer to write about travel when I’m actually doing it.
That’s all the more reason to get out there, right?
Did you study abroad? Or maybe you wish you did?