Why study abroad? Before leaving I would have said “TO TRAVEL!!”, just like that, all caps and bold with exclamation points at the end. In the months leading up to my departure my expectations, hopes, and dreams for my study abroad experience all focused on traveling. I had essentially planned to spend every second of the day I wasn’t in class traveling. My desire to travel was almost obsessive and, in my last hours in the US I was almost numb from the idea that I was finally going to see all that I had dreamed about for the last month. And then I got here.
For various reasons, I slowly came to realize that my vision of nonstop travel was not going to become my reality. It was a painful realization and, one that I fought with anguish and tears. I had convinced myself that the only way to fully take advantage of this opportunity was to see every last square inch of Costa Rican soil and then some. But lo’ my epic Costa Rican adventures were not to be! So the question became, if I’m not traveling then what? If I don’t spend my weekends traversing through the beautiful emerald green cloud forests atop tamed jaguars does that mean I’m doing this (studying abroad) all wrong?
I’m sure for some people study abroad is essentially an extended vacation where they see and experience a million places outside of their homestay city. And that’s a beautiful, valuable, and perfectly valid, way to spend one’s months abroad. But I’ve learned that that’s not the only to make a study abroad experience. So, how do you study abroad “right”? You do what makes you happy and don’t forget that you decide what makes a valuable and worthwhile experience. Whatever it is and wherever you are, you just have to dig in deep and keep in mind that it is your experience. Study abroad is about immersing yourself. Whether that means immersing yourself in what’s at hand, or immersing yourself in what’s a little farther out, is up to you. So, as my good friend Mark Twain once said, “Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Besitos and abrazitos,
Hilda, with an H
P.S. Forgive me if you felt that that I did not live up to my promise of making a short post. Relatively speaking, this post was shorter than the last.
P.P.S. I also ask that you forgive me if you feel that my content was in any way cliché. Although I am of the persuasion that cliches are every bit truthful and valuable. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be cliches.
P.P.P.S Couldn’t figure out the photo gallery… so sorry! Until next time.