What I Learned During My Study Abroad Experience
Studying in another country was a great way to learn new things, and the learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom. Most of my learning happened in mini rants, deep thinking, and prayer. Still, if I were given the chance to study abroad again I would do it. I studied abroad at De Montfort University in Leicester, England for three months. Those months was the best months of my life for self-refection, building relationships, and growing in my relationship with God. I confirmed and learned so much about myself during those months abroad.
Isaiah 41:10 was my favorite Bible verse when I was abroad. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” There were many moments when I doubted myself and God. However, God aided me in every situation from being a few blocks away from a terrorist attack to stressing over assignments. I learned to trust God no matter what, because he was always there.
I didn’t really experience homesickness. There were some girls from my home university, who had a hard time dealing with missing home. I had moments of missing my family like when my older brother got married, my little brother had a bomb threats at his high school, and thanksgiving’s tales and fun. However, I enjoyed the space from my family and the chance to be independent in another country. The independence of being in another country was exciting and eye-opening. Furthermore, I met amazing people, who helped me feel at home.
Everyone says it’s easier to travel around Europe while you are in neighboring countries. Before I left, I had plans to travel to France, Italy, and Greece. Instead, I was sitting in my favorite coffee shop, St. Martin’s, slipping on melted chocolate mochas, and talking for hours with the friends I made at De Montfort University. The relationship I made during my months abroad was more life-changing than trips to other countries. I knew I could travel to those countries in the future. Nonetheless, the relationships I made were more important than a bobble head of Marie Antoinette. I learned that relationships are more important than bragging about the places I visited.
Another thing I learned while I was abroad was that America was a bubble to me. Many Americans don’t know what was happening in other countries, while many people around the world know about everything happening in America. Before I left to study abroad, I used to think that other countries disliked America. But, I was surprised by how many people viewed America as a ‘great’ place. Students had listed the music, food, people, culture, and opportunities as some of the reasons why they loved or was interested in America.
Studying abroad in England was a wonderful experience and I learned so much about myself and others during my time there. I educated myself on the things I like, God, and the importance of relationships. Anyone who wants to see a change in themselves should travel abroad, because that experience is life-changing.
Thessalonia Thomas is a graphic design student at Francis Marion University and passionate traveler, photographer, and follower of Jesus Christ. She hopes to change the world’s perception with her photography, life, and designs.