My Study Abroad Experience From 2017

In 2017, I embarked on a study abroad journey that, despite its ups and downs, turned out to be one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I’m sharing this on my blog because I believe many aspects of my experience still resonate with traveling today.

The Adventure Begins

It all started in a rather humorous fashion. I tried making chocolate chip cookies, and when they emerged from the oven, they were a droopy, melted mess. Naturally, I shared my baking disaster on Snapchat, which led to a conversation about my time in Spain with a friend. He asked if it was “everything I dreamed it would be,” prompting some reflection.

The Highs

Living in Spain was exhilarating. The opportunity to laugh in a second language, interact with culturally aware individuals, and form meaningful connections was profoundly enriching. The stunning views, the intricate architecture, and the vibrant nightlife all surpassed what I was accustomed to in the United States. To say it was fantastic would be an understatement.

The Lows

However, the journey wasn’t without its challenges. Every negative experience seemed amplified away from the comfort of home. The absence of familiar faces compounded every issue, from navigating cultural and language barriers to dealing with mundane annoyances. Unlike the trivial frustrations back home, these obstacles felt more daunting and isolating.

Growth Through Struggle

This blend of good and bad experiences forged an unexpected journey of personal growth. I confronted my anxieties about forming new relationships head-on and emerged more resilient. Living independently, away from my friends and family, taught me to embrace uncertainty and relinquish the need for control.

Lessons Learned

The lessons I learned while studying abroad are irreplaceable. Whether it was stumbling through a conversation in a foreign language, watching a new acquaintance navigate social situations, or confronting my own fears, these experiences provided a clarity that I could not have gained in the United States. They taught me to appreciate imperfection and the beauty of the unexpected.


Was my study abroad experience everything I dreamed of? Not exactly; it often diverged from my expectations in challenging ways. Yet, it remains one of the best experiences of my life for the invaluable insights it offered into my own culture and myself. It taught me lessons that I could only learn by stepping outside my comfort zone.

In the end, studying abroad isn’t just about becoming more cultured or knowledgeable; it’s about embracing struggle and growing from it. Or, you could choose not to embark on such a journey and miss out on these transformative experiences. But then again, sometimes all we want is to sit back and watch the latest season of Stranger Things.