Why you should take a study-abroad year

I’ve just finished my full year abroad in the UK, and it’s been the best risk I’ve ever taken. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, take it. Luckily UVIC has many partner universities which allow study-abroad opportunities.

I’ve been so blessed to study abroad while still paying UVIC tuition, which made it financially doable.

My year has been full of travel, starting fresh, adapting to a different country, meeting new people (with British accents), healing, and reflecting on my future.

Since studying abroad in the UK, I’ve realized a lot of new things about myself and where I want to be for the rest of my 20s. But I wouldn’t have been able to if it wasn’t for leaving the country for a year abroad!

Here’s why you should take advantage of UVIC’s study abroad program!

1. When you leave comfort, the little things are big accomplishments

Comfort zones keep things safe, routine, familiar, and to be honest, boring. Going on exchange has shown me that taking risks is worth it because every little thing I do feels like a big accomplishment overseas.

I realize how much guts it takes to move countries, making moments of new, unknown, and nervousness moments of accomplishment. I know it takes a lot of guts to do what I’m doing, so I know to celebrate simple things like going grocery shopping, taking a new train, and booking a flight. I love living in daily mini-accomplishments!

2. You will finally meet yourself without the influence of others

airport icon, airport icon vector, airport icon artBeing in one place for so long with the same people, you don’t realize how much the people around you influence your sense of self.

Leaving the people who have helped shaped me for the past two years has shown me who I have grown into alone.

You don’t truly meet yourself until you’re alone, and as scary as this is, it’s also powerful. If you’ve never truly met yourself in life, you’ve never felt free.

3. Confidence goes way up!!

Being able to move across the country for a year is something many people find scary or intimidating. It’s once you do this that you realize how courageous and free you really are.

You’ll adopt a new independence that tells you that you don’t need to wait for anyone to experience life, that you can do things by yourself, and that you are the only one who can take charge of your life.

4. You will have new future travel plans

You will realize life is not about money and careers, but experiencing life. Therefore when you meet new friends who live in Sweden, Australia, France, and New Zealand you’ll make future plans to visit them! This makes a great excuse to travel in your 20s, which I believe is such a beneficial age to travel.

5. You realize you can adapt to anything: you can do anything!

This is the year that I’ve realized that life is about new experiences, like trying a new sport or moving to a new country, because as humans we can adapt and find new versions of life anywhere in the world, even in the unknown.

I’ve “started new” twice now. First I moved provinces, and now I’ve moved countries. I know that I can meet new people, adapt to a new lifestyle, and love anywhere I go.

My life can move anywhere, into any foreign environment or discomfort, because my comfort, my familiar, is myself.

I realized how much I don’t know about the world and myself until I went into the depths of the unknown, a new place. Living somewhere else for a year, I realized I don’t think I want my life to be focused on money or trying for the ideal career, but instead doing what I love and being my best friend in the process!

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