Two Reasons to Study Abroad Alone
This post was written by Education Abroad Peer Advisor (EAPA) Debora Sena ’19…
Hello! I am Debora, a senior at Babson, and I spent my junior year abroad. During the BRIC program (Fall 2017), I realized the world was bigger than I thought, and decided to study at IE University, in Madrid, Spring 2018.
When planning to go abroad, I was not very concerned about having friends to come with me, but that can be the number one aspect many students consider when choosing whether and where to go abroad. If you are in the middle of the decision process, I have two reasons why going abroad alone can the best decision of your life (besides choosing Babson, of course).
- When you are alone, you have the opportunity to learn about and love yourself.
Being an international student made this discovery process less intense during my time abroad. However, when I was in Madrid, I was able to learn about what I actually liked to do by myself rather than what I enjoyed doing with friends, for example. In order words, I was not going with the flow, but actively creating my own flow. This is step is very important for you to learn about your individual identity, and not the group identity. At Babson, for example, I had never really discussed architecture with anybody, but I found out I love it during my time abroad. My Babson student identity did not let me see that clearly before, but allowing myself to own my individual identity did.
Have you ever taken yourself for dinner? Well, I had not until I had to; it was my first night in Madrid and I had no friends yet. “Can I please get a table for one?” Awkward, right? Yes, until you realize that being able to enjoy your own company (and people watch, forget your phone), can be a path to self-love and independence!
When I travelled to Valencia, Spain (alone), and found a stranger who managed to take this nice picture!
- You can make new (actually new) friends!
This one is challenging, and if you are not willing to make the effort, it is not going to happen. In college, we have organizations, clubs, and groups that “force” people to interact, and that is easier because usually you have a lot in common with these people. Abroad is different, and if you do no reach out to people you find interesting, it is likely they will not do it either.
Therefore, assuming you are up for the challenge, you will definitely yield results. The interesting part here is that many of friends I made were not business students. I chose to be around people who are different from my regular circle of friends because for one, their friendship means learning something new every day, and for another, it allowed me to see life through many different perspectives. If you would like, you can call this an entrepreneurial move.
Great friends; we still talk about going to each other wedding parties in 10 years, either in Brazil, Mexico, United States, Turkey, or Sweden.
I hope these reasons helped you make a decision! If you have more questions, please send me an email at email@example.com.