study abroad part two: putting yourself out there
I wrote this post about a month into my study abroad experience:
When I decided to come to Australia, I immediately booked my ticket. Once I arrived, I found that my building was a ghost town. I landed a couple of weeks before most of the other students. However, there was nothing to do until classes started; it felt like a lifetime. This resulted in me feeling homesick and lonely causing me to question my decisions. Did I pick the right country? Should I have chosen Paris? A place that makes me feel more comfortable because I had already been there with my family. Did I make the right choice in leaving everything I knew in order to study abroad?
Then I remembered why I chose Australia in the first place. Australia’s seasons are the opposite of the US. They were in summer when I arrived. I love warm weather and the beach. Going out of my comfort zone caused me to have a completely new experience. Australia is also about the same size as the continental US, so there is no way I would be able to see all of it unless I took the plunge to study abroad. These thoughts reassured me.
I knew what I needed to do. So I made a plan of attack to help me feel more in control. I opened my international student book and started reading. I also started checking my emails to learn more about my classes and found that there was an inbound international student Facebook group. After I was admitted into the group, I started perusing the other posts. They were mostly about random things like reselling camping gear when students were finished with their study abroad stay. I chose to be vulnerable. I remembered that these are all kids just like me away from home and scared. I wrote a post saying my name, some things that I am passionate about (fashion and romantic comedies). After one-day responses were flooding in of other girls who were in the same boat as me and wanted to get together when they arrived in Melbourne.
In total, study abroad forces you to put yourself out there. I have been shy all my life. With time I have become more comfortable in my own skin. Since I moved to Australia, I have met so many people and have been able to start a conversation with just about anyone. It is crucial to be yourself and allow other people to see who you are. This makes it so much easier to find people just like you and have new experiences together.