Cultural Experience | United Kingdom

Discover your World and Yourself with this Study Abroad Bucket List

How to lose yourself in order to find yourself on any experience abroad.

Some say studying abroad changes you, which it might. Or your time abroad doesn’t change the person you are, and instead it helps you better understand yourself. On both of my study abroad experiences I was able to gain a more confident sense of who I am and now see stepping out of my comfort zone as an exciting challenge instead of a fear. Not every day will be easy, but every new place you see, new friend you make, and new lesson you learn will be worth it.

Here are a list of the activities I did that led to my self discovery:

Take That Iconic Photo
The cliche travel photo is a worldwide phenomenon. While most people dread them, they are surprisingly an important part of your experience overseas. Whether it’s a shot of you holding up the leaning tower of Pisa or inside a London phonebooth, be silly and do it. Self-growth abroad starts with embracing the tourist attractions and not caring what others think.

Try The Local Food
Try new foods, even if they don’t sound appetizing. What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t like it? Fine, then you don’t have to finish it or ever order it again. The important part is that you didn’t judge the item by it’s name or appearance. You broadened your palate, all while taking part in a new culture.

Do Something You Would Never Do At Home
This doesn’t mean you have to go too crazy, but take advantage of the opportunities to challenge yourself. It can be something adventurous like going on a difficult hike or cliff jumping. If you prefer less endurance boosting thrills try learning the native language or taking up a new hobby. Push your boundaries, because when’s the next time you’re going to be able to swim in the Mediterranean? Or take a cooking class in Paris?  Seize the day; you can sleep in at home.

Watch A Concert
Music is a great way to connect with people abroad. Before going to London I researched some of my favorite bands and was able to see two of them during my visit. Or you can check out the local music scene. Discovering new interests is a big part of personal growth.

Add Your Own “Love Lock”
Maybe you can’t make it to Paris, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wrap a love lock around a bridge post. Oh, and you don’t have to be “in love” either. Dedicate it to someone special in your life; or yourself.  After all one must learn to love themselves before they can love anyone else.

Go To A Sports Game
Even if you’re not a big sports person, try it. Going to see a team that people are fanatic about is a perfect way to experience local life. You’ll get a real sense of the town’s pride and traditions. Again, you’ll be branching out and trying something new. Take this opportunity to observe and compare it to what you’re used to.

Take A Lot Of Walks
Seeing the town you live in is vital part to self discovery. You’ll start noticing the types of environments you enjoy being in. Maybe it’s a crowded city centre with a lot of action or it’s a quiet public library. Wherever it is, you’ll feel accomplished that you’ve found it on your own and learned something new about yourself. Here’s a tip: normally the place finds you and you know it has once you find yourself repeatedly revisiting it.

Find The Best View In Town
Once you’ve found your secret spot it’s time to locate that breathtaking view. It will be worth all the walking and talking with locals to find this place. Why? Because it will give you an entirely new perspective on where you’ve been. It might even become a new hangout place and will definitely be the perfect spot to show visiting friends and family.

Learn To Be Alone
This could be as drastic as booking a solo weekend trip or as simple as riding public transportation by yourself. Go explore by getting on a bus or metro with no destination. Get off a random stop and see what you find. There will be days when there’s no one to get dinner with; that’s ok. Try that trendy restaurant down the street you’ve been eyeing since you arrived. There is a secret happiness is solitude. It is also a great opportunity to dig deeper and explore your personal interests.

Get Asked For Directions
For me, this is the most important sign of comfort in a new place. The first part, getting asked for directions, is easy. It’s an accomplishment because others perceive you to be a local. It’s the second part, pointing them in the right direction, that’s more difficult. Once you’ve directed someone with no hesitation, you’ve achieved confidence. That feeling of being an outsider is gone and you officially feel like you belong where you are.

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Amanda Tempesta

Hofstra University | 6 stories

I’m a senior at Hofstra University, with a double major in Journalism and Rhetoric. Experience is my greatest teacher. Every new place I meet has taught me something different. I’ve left pieces of me around the globe while collecting memories and passport stamps along the way. I have a passion for writing, traveling, photography, social media, music, and green tea. If traveling were free, you’d never see me.

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