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Message from 2020-11-13

Unexpected long-lasting benefits of going abroad

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Elise Paul in Australia
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Unexpected long-lasting benefits of going abroad

Have you ever thought about living in another country for a period time? Do you still have doubts about doing an Erasmus year or whatever you associate with a stay abroad? I will convince you about going abroad by listing some unexpected benefits about living somewhere else.

This is the voice of experience speaking since I myself lived in Perth, Western Australia, for six months. If you overcome your doubts: for example, losing time while studying just to have some fun in another country or do I really want to leave all my friends and family for such a long time? I can totally understand all these concerns because I had them in the beginning and that’s the flip side of the coin. But we want to focus on the benefits of going abroad so let's get started.

Every beginning is hard

Just think about the experiences you gain during the journey of your life. In my time in Perth I can say that I grew beyond myself. First of all, you might feel overwhelmed with an unknown environment, but when you get more involved with it, you become comfortable with the situation. Your once strange roommate will become your closest friend and the park around the corner will turn out to be a perfect place to open your mind and go for long walks. You might meet there for moonlight cinemas, picnics, game nights, or nice get-togethers with friends you met on club nights or lessons at university. I didn’t go to university because I stayed at my Au pair families house and took care of two wonderful girls. Nevertheless, I was introduced to many locals who taught me the Australian lifestyle. Something to consider are different skills you could learn while going abroad. At this point I want to ask if you know how to make a fire just out of woods with no aids. No? In the beginning I didn’t either. I was forced to learn while in Perth. Another thing I learned how to do was to try and make food like “shepherd’s pie”. It’s a dish out of mashed potato and minced meat, yummy!

No risk, no fun

Once you leave your home country, you are totally on your own. I am not saying it to scare you. It’s a chance you have to take. I, for example, got confronted with a huge problem in the middle of my travel journey. My best friend and I rented a campervan. Yes, we were one of the coolest camper girls in Australia. We slept in it 24/7 at sometimes risky places and it became our new home. Maybe you now know what happened. One early morning we got up, brushed our teeth and wanted to cook breakfast. Suddenly we realised our pockets got stolen. That was a shock and in the first seconds we didn’t know what to do. No mum or dad could help us in this situation but we learned how to handle it on our own. We were proud of us and grew from our experience.

Experience a new culture

Another point in favor of going abroad: You will get to know another culture and meet lifelong friends. My Au pair family was South African, British and Australian thus it was multicultural and I got the full dosage about what traditions you practice in different countries. You could learn different traditions about decorating the plastic Christmas tree with many colorful bells to having a barbecue at the beach while wearing a Christmas hat. In this situation I didn’t miss home because I found a wonderful second family on the other side of the world.

Making lifelong friends

As my chapter as an Au pair ended, I travelled around Australia for another four months. I was seized by the travel fever and met many lifelong friends along the way. When I returned back home, I am always trying to catch up with them and we are all trying to stay in touch for the rest of our lives. If you go abroad you will find special friends. It ́s like a bond between you. You all have gone through the same experience and this is what ́s bringing you closer together. That’s exactly what it is to become an adult and what a stay abroad can give to you. You will expand your worldview and learn how to communicate with all types of people. You will know how to react in atypical situations because you will have gained lots of life experience and you can also impress future employers by telling crazy stories about your year abroad – no, they will prefer to remain objective ;-)

Nevertheless, I can warmly recommend to take the chance of staying abroad. You won't lose something, you will end up creating many great memories and perfect long-lasting friendships!

Article by Elise Paul - ESN International Student Initiative

Overview

Die Universität Witten/Herdecke ist durch das NRW-Wissenschaftsministerium unbefristet staatlich anerkannt und wird – sowohl als Institution wie auch für ihre einzelnen Studiengänge – regelmäßig akkreditiert durch: