Life Lessons Learned While Traveling Abroad
Growing up in good ole Oklahoma, I never imagined that in college I would leave the country for three months to study abroad in Seville, Spain, aka about 5,000 miles away from my home.
I have always been a homebody; even moving two hours away from my hometown to go to college was a scary idea for me. I was always in love with the idea of exploring, but I was terrified of leaving my family behind. Finally, my junior year of college I decided that I was going to study abroad for a semester.
This decision was not an easy one for me. I knew it would be an incredible opportunity to explore the world and specifically work on my Spanish language skills for my Spanish minor. On the other hand, the thought of missing out on those little moments with my family and literally being so far away from them was absolutely terrifying.
I finally decided that I needed to take advantage of this opportunity not just to see the world, but to grow up and learn how to be more independent.
I am about a month and a half into this journey and to be honest with you, there have been good days and there have been bad days. There are days when I just stand in awe in front of historical monuments in disbelief that traveling the world is really my life at the moment. Then there are days where I call my mom crying because I miss her so much.
Making the choice to study abroad has been one of the best decisions of my life. I am not even halfway through this adventure and I can already tell how much I have grown as a person. I can say that I have seen in person the great works of Antoni Gaudí at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I can say that I have held a conversation for an hour in Spanish with my host dad about the current situation in Catalonia.
I have realized the importance of educating myself on the history of cities, historical monuments and the culture of all the people I have met. I have learned that there is so much more to this world than the little bubble I tend to stay in at home in Oklahoma.
To all of the men and women out there who have the slightest desire to travel the world, but are scared to, here is my advice to you: go for it. You know about the cliché phrase: you only live once? That could not be truer. Take that leap of faith and go explore. Step out of your comfort zone. Go visit those unknown places. Experience new cultures.
I promise you that in the end, you will grow more as a person than you ever would have expected.
About the author
Sierra is a 21-year-old student at the University of Oklahoma studying public relations, Spanish and nonprofit organizational studies. She is currently studying abroad in Seville, Spain. Sierra is an avid lover of Jesus, coffee and long strolls through Target.