I distinctly remember a time in my life where I never would have considered studying abroad, and it wasn’t that long ago. Of course, at that point, I was still convinced I wanted to become a veterinarian, so going on a journey like this for school wasn’t on my radar. I was so wrapped up in my own life with absolutely no concern for what happens outside of the United States. I didn’t care about anything else other than what I wanted and how I would achieve my goals at the time.
I was on this path to becoming a vet up until my senior year of high school. I had picked out a school with a great Pre-Veterinary Medicine program, declared my major, and even worked at a vet’s office. My confidence in my ability to pursue this field was through the roof, and I was sure that’s what I wanted. No going back. That is, until I traveled abroad for the first time.
I went with a small group to Thailand back in January 2016. My initial trip abroad was on the complete opposite side of the world, a full 12-hour time difference. The whole experience was amazing, and I couldn’t have picked a better place to go or better people to travel with myself. I got home and felt renewed but uncertain of the future. I knew becoming a veterinarian wasn’t my ultimate goal anymore, but I didn’t know what the new goal was.
For a senior in high school who had already picked a school, a major, and accepted scholarships, I was pretty lost. In my mind, I thought I was supposed to have all of the answers, and everything should have fallen into place by now. This begged the internal question: “Where do I go from here?” I finally did some research on my school’s website and started looking at new majors, because I knew Pre-Vet couldn’t stay. I decided that a double major in International Studies and History would be best for me. With this degree I could help other people and see this great world we live in, and that would ultimately make me the happiest.
Statistics show that less than 3% of college students will choose to study abroad over the course of their academic career. Since I declared International Studies, I now have the opportunity to be one of the few that takes this step and ventures into the unknown. Over these next few months, I’ll be out of the United States learning Arabic and experiencing life in another country. Most of my time will be spent in Morocco, but towards the end of my trip, I’m going to Rome, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey. I leave in early September and won’t be stateside again until the week before Christmas.
Sometimes I get questions asking why I want to do this, or what kinds of jobs I can get, or how I chose Arabic as the language I want to learn. I still don’t know how to answer most of these. All I know to tell people is that the career possibilities are endless and I’m doing what makes me happy. I feel confident that studying abroad will not only teach me the language skills I need to be successful in my field, but will also give me a new perspective on life that I would never get otherwise.
Follow me here as I go on this journey that will undoubtedly change my life for the better. I will update this weekly with pictures and stories that represent what living abroad is really like. However, my next post will probably two weeks from now since my first week is all traveling. Stay tuned!