The decision to pursue a study abroad experience can be a life changing one!
Will this opportunity ever present itself to me again?
Individuals facing the decision to study abroad often face one or more of the ‘What If” Restrictions.
“What If” Restrictions:
- What if the experience is too much to handle and I end up regretting it?
- Can I really be apart from my family and friends for so long? What if my decision to go negatively impacts them?
- So you’re telling me that I JUST got situated at college and found a routine and friends, and I have to restart again?
- But won’t I miss so much if I leave?
- I can probably just travel later in life —like when I have more job security… or time.
- But there’s no way I can complete my degree on time if I study abroad.
Ah, yes, “What If” Restrictions. These are completely normal considerations that most people have to address when making the decision to study abroad.
I’m here to tell you that only you are informed enough to make the decision for yourself. But let me tell you about my experience!
During my senior year at Binghamton, I studied abroad in New Zealand. If you told me before I left for my program that I would end up bungee jumping, (you know, like literally jumping off a bridge while only attached by your legs) I would have NEVER believed you.
And, here I am, pretending that I’m ready to jump…
Now that I can reflect on this experience, I’m happy to say I can always look back—no matter where I am in life—and say “I’m glad I did that. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, and fully gave in to the process of learning about myself”
And the truth is that to really learn about yourself, you have to try new things. You have to go places you’ve never been before, see things you’ve never seen before, and do things that you might have NEVER pictured yourself doing.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to try bungee jumping, or that my study abroad experience in New Zealand can be summarized by this one experience, but I do wish to promote the idea that there’s value in newness and challenging yourself.
Another thing to remember: While a picture can be worth 1,000 words, it just isn’t the same as an experience. This picture shows one of my favorite places I was able to travel to in New Zealand—Milford Sound. Breathtaking photo, right? I mean, definitely not the kind of nature most people see on a day-to-day basis. The picture DEFINITELY can’t capture the experience of being there in present.
It was incredible.
So, if you find yourself facing one of the “What If” Restrictions, stay calm! New experiences can be scary sometimes, and recognizing how a new experience makes you feel is important. But remember, with newness comes excitement, friendships, memories, and fulfillment!
Emmet Roche, an Educational Studies graduate student, studied abroad on the New Zealand: International Study of Culture and Leisure program through SUNY Brockport in winter 2018.