Updated: 03/23/20 | March 23rd, 2020
I sat down to write about my travel regrets and realized I only have one: I never studied abroad when I was in college.
Studying abroad is an annual ritual for thousands of college students. They travel all over the world to get away from home, experience something new, take classes overseas, meet new people, and party in foreign lands.
Most American students seem to flock toward Europe, where cheap transportation makes weekend trips to exotic cities easy.
When I was in college, I never caught the study abroad bug. At that point in my life, I wasn’t big into traveling. Studying abroad sounded cool, but it also sounded like a tedious administrative process — and I was lazy.
I liked my campus life; det var nemt. forms and paperwork got in the way of sleeping late, four-day weekends, and fraternity events.
But what really held me back was a single idea that seems to hold many others back, too. It’s the belief that something might be missed while studying abroad.
What would happen if I left home? What changes would happen with my friends? What parties would I miss? What gossip? What if there was some big event at school and I wasn’t there? What if the president came?
What if this? What if that?
With all those “what ifs” in my head, I never went abroad because I never wanted to miss something. I didn’t know what that “something” was, but I knew I wasn’t going to miss it.
But I was naive in that thinking. I never realized that studying abroad would imply new memories, new friends, and new adventures. I was too tied to the worry in my mind to let myself go.
Flash forward to 2006, when I went driving with my friend Mike. We were talking about how I was about to leave for my round-the-world trip.
“I wonder what life will be like when I come back?” Jeg spurgte ham.
“Nothing will change,” he said. “It will be the exact same as when you left.”
“Hvordan det? I’ll be gone for a year!” I retorted. “A year is a long time. Something will happen.”
“Matt,” he said to me, “when I went to England to study abroad, I thought the same thing. but when I came back, everyone was still doing the same thing, studying the same thing, acting the same way. It was as though I had never left. I melted best back in. It will be the same for you, too.”
In the end, Mike was right.
After 18 months of traveling around the world, I came home and life was still the same.
My friends had the same jobs, had the same hobbies, and went to the same bars.
I hadn’t missed any earth-shattering events. Life had continued on exactly the same way it always had in my absence.
In a way, it felt as though those 18 months away had never really happened. My old life was there as if frozen in time, just waiting for my return.
And it was then that I realized I had made a huge mistake by never studying abroad.
I missed out on an opportunity that only comes along once in your life. That semester abroad was taken away from me by my own unfounded fears.
Now, I regret that I let worry keep me from experiencing life overseas. who knows what kinds of experiences I might have had studying abroad, what friends I would have made, or how my impression of travel might be different had I started at a younger age.
I robbed myself of an opportunity because I was too frightened to leave my comfort zone. It’s much simpler to stay at home where things are familiar than to break out and travel. It’s a big thing to step out your door, away from your safety net, and into the known.
Deep down, you may want to travel…but the devil you know is always safer than the devil you don’t. It can be a hard mindset to shake.
I know numerous college students read my blog. I know because I receive emails from students all the time. This post is for all the students out there who are scared to take a chance.
To you, I say, go study abroad!
As scary as it may seem, you aren’t the first person to study abroad. You aren’t the first person to leave home and explore the world. Columbus and Magellan had a reason to be afraid. You don’t.
There is a well-worn traveler trail out there. There are people to help you. There are groups and resources online. You aren’t going to be alone.
As scary as it may seem, you aren’t venturing into the true unknown.
Don’t worry about what you might miss back home. Your friends will still be your friends, the parties will still be there, and campus life won’t change. You don’t need to be home to learn all the juicy gossip. You can do that on Facebook.
Do the Foo Fighters coming for a concert compare to exploring all the gelato restaurants in Florence?
Would you trade weekends on the beach in Australia just so you can be there to learn that a friend made a trick of himself at a party?
I know from experience that you are missing out on much more by staying on campus than by going overseas. This is your chance to live abroad and have many of your expenses paid for you.Dette er dit skud på at se, om du kan lide verden uden for dine grænser i relativ komfort og sikkerhed.
Vær ikke nervøs.
Lad ikke den bekymre dig holde dig tilbage.
Du vil stadig være i skolens sikkerhedsboble … bare på en anden skole. Der vil være adskillige andre studerende lige så nervøse som dig også. Det vil være noget at binde over. Hvis du virkelig ikke kan lide det, kan du altid komme hjem.
Men vær ikke som mig – fyldt med en levetid af beklagelse, simpelthen fordi du var for bange for, hvad der kunne have været.
Sådan rejser du verden på $ 50 om dagen
Min New York Times bedst sælgende paperback-guide til World Travel vil instruere dig, hvordan du mestrer kunsten at rejse, så du kommer fra den slagne vej, sparer penge og har en dybere rejseoplevelse. Det er din A til Z Planning Guide, som BBC kaldte “Bibelen for budgetrejsende.”
Klik her for at lære meget mere og begynde at læse det i dag!
Book din rejse: logistiske forslag og tricks
Book din flyvning
Find en billig flyvning ved hjælp af Skyscanner. Det er min foretrukne søgemaskine, fordi den søger på websteder og flyselskaber over hele kloden, så du ved altid, at der ikke er nogen sten, der ikke er vendt.
Book din indkvartering
Du kan booke dit hostel med HostelWorld. Hvis du vil bo et andet sted end et vandrerhjem, skal du bruge Booking.com, da de konsekvent returnerer de mest overkommelige priser for gæstehuse og hoteller.
Glem ikke rejseforsikring
Rejseforsikring vil beskytte dig mod sygdom, skade, tyveri og aflysninger. Det er omfattende beskyttelse, hvis noget går galt. Jeg tager aldrig på en tur uden den, da jeg har været nødt til at bruge den adskillige gange i fortiden. Mine yndlingsfirmaer, der tilbyder den bedste service og værdi, er:
Safetywing (bedst for alle)
Forsikre min rejse (for dem over 70)
Medjet (for yderligere evakueringsdækning)
Klar til at booke din rejse?
Tjek min ressourceside for de bedste virksomheder, der skal bruges, når du rejser. Jeg viser alle dem, jeg bruger, når jeg rejser. De er de bedste i klassen, og du kan ikke gå galt ved at bruge dem på din rejse.