Why I Left & Why You Should Too
By Taylor Brady, WSA Intern
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Studying abroad isn’t for everyone, but I always knew it was for me.
I remember being ten years old, sitting on the edge of the ocean in Maine, and thinking about where the waves would take me if I let them. As I grew up the longing for the unknown stayed lodged in my core.
This semester, I finally took off and ended up in Cork, Ireland, where I promptly began to feel an important change. I wasn’t the girl with too many majors, multiple jobs and three hundred checklists constantly cycling through the back of my brain anymore. I felt healthier, I felt whole. This new simplicity enchanted me, encouraged me, and showed me how much the world has to offer. Standing on the edge of the Atlantic after hours of travel, hundreds of feet up with the sea breeze through my hair, I didn’t feel alone, exhausted or cold- I finally felt free.
I left home because I starting finding myself wandering my college campus simply to avoid constraining walls and unmoving air. Restlessness ruffled the corners of my mind and curiosity tugged at my heart. There had to be more, and I was determined to find it. I left because I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I stayed. I wasn’t afraid because I knew that the person waiting at the end of the journey was going to be made of a million more colors. How could I risk passing that up?
Why each person chooses to study abroad is different. It’s a challenge for some, an adventure for others, an educational opportunity, or a change in perspective. The common thread is the chance that each person takes by throwing themselves into the unknown. Life was made for living, so say yes to something new and enjoy the unexpected benefits. Figure out what you are capable of doing.
I left because I knew I would be better for it. You should go too. Don’t think too much about what could go wrong and don’t dwell on your fear. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be perfect. There will be times where you’ll be standing at a bus station and glaring at a map without a clue of what to do, and that’s scary, but you’re learning and that’s beautiful. Maybe you’ll miss people from home or you’re scared you’ll make mistakes- that’s okay too. But trust me on this, and go.
This is the perfect time in your life to set aside routine and run headfirst into the dark. You’re as young as you’ll ever be, as brave as you’re willing to show, and incredibly capable of tackling obstacles. The most important step is just to trust yourself and take the leap.
Go. It will be worth it.
We are all constantly moving forward with the word “possibility” as a promise; take advantage of that. You’ll be so grateful that you did.
I definitely have WSA to thank for my exceptional experience in Amsterdam. One would think 4 days isn't enough to tour a city but WSA facilitated an optimum weekend full of sightseeing and fun. Amsterdam may have a notorious reputation for its lax drug and sex culture but there’s so much more to the city. Luckily, our tour guide, Arthur, native to the Netherlands, steered us away from the tourist traps and showed us around his beloved city, highlighting all of its gems. I'd definitely like to try other WSA trips in the future. It's hassle free traveling with an awesome itinerary - nice that the tour guides are flexible with the schedule and willing to cater the itinerary to the group's interest! Highly recommend WSA to any student with only a weekend to see a city.Lauren Wallender, Elon University ~ Fall 2014
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