Challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone as much as possible. I recently accepted a position to study abroad in Madrid for New York University next semester. There’s no doubt that I obviously accepted this offer as soon as possible. I planned out this step ahead, and ever since freshman year, I’ve taken the necessary steps to pave out the way for my eventual Study Abroad. I knew that eventually this day would come.
“…I knew that I’d be here so if you ask me how I feel? Ima just tell you its everything that I expected…boi”
^^Big Sean quote
Plan out your steps now so that you can chill and rest easy in the future. Your future self will thank you for all of the things that you’d set up to propel them to do now…Or, your future self might be cursing out your past existence for all of the procrastination, laziness, and fear that you succumbed too.
Throughout High School, I always assumed that I would stay near home for college. It was just something that made sense to me, why would I want to move far away from my friends and everything familiar to me? Why would I step out of the comfort of living close to family? I wrote about these thoughts on this blog and its funny to see how now I am actually pushing to study abroad.
In my study abroad application I had to write about why I chose Madrid. The core of my reasons for going abroad is that I want to gain a solid foundation in Spanish. I believe that it is necessary that if I want to up my spanish speaking skills, that I force myself into an environment where I would have to rely on learning the language in order to communicate with everyone else. Taking a Spanish class in America wouldn’t offer the same intensity. If I needed help with directions on the street I could just revert back to English, but now that I’ll be living in Madrid I’ll force myself to use Spanish effectively.
I also wrote about how I already learned the value of going far away from a familiar environment. NYU is now my home away from home, the connections I’ve made here and the experiences running for the team here, they are invaluable. Now I want to take it a step further and live in Europe for half a semester. I’ve never lived in Europe, and I know this will be an exciting experience.
I know that attacking the unknown and going all in on this study abroad experience might place me in a world of fear. It’s natural to fear the unknown. The real value for me going abroad is that I need to experience hands on how I can deal with fear in an entirely different country. Moving far to a new city was just the beginning, and now I need to move forward into a new environment.
I can’t tell people to go ahead and take a risk without living in a foreign country beforehand. I can choose to not go abroad, but I never know when an opportunity like this will come up again.
One of the opportunity costs for me going abroad is that I’ll have to forgo a track season. I’ll admit it’s a weird feeling to think that I won’t be running around in circles next Spring as my sport, but I cannot imagine another time where I will have an opportunity to live and study in Madrid. I’m determined to take on a new chapter in my life. I will return to the States with a new perspective of the world, and a wealth of personal experience.
What are you doing now to face fear?
Have you studied abroad?
Tell me about what it’s like in Europe, I’ve never been there.