Op Ed to Previous Story: Why You Should Not Fear Studying Abroad

Being Afraid To Leave Your Comfort Zone Restricts You More Than You Realize

“Sometimes, we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, we find ourselves.” Our entire lives, we live in fear of death. It is the shadow that lurks behind us no matter what we do or where we are. 

Our lives are so fragile. So many people are dying to live, but simply not seizing the day. They are just living to die. It is often that we cling to what we know because that is what we are comfortable with- with comfortability, there is no unknown. Sure, that may be appealing to some. 

But is that a life you really want to live? Do you want to die, only having seen the comforts of your own home because you are scared of the unknown? Comfortability does not show us the true wonders of life and the world in which we live. It does not help us grow and find ourselves. In retrospect, it keeps us in the same place for the entirety of our lives. 

We were not born with roots. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where almost anything is possible. So many people are homesick for places that they do not know. Fear cannot stop you from living your life. With that being said, fear cannot stop you from studying abroad. 

There are two things inevitable in life: living and dying. Everything else is uncertain. More often than not, you do not wake up in the morning and have the fortune of knowing that you are going to die that given day. You do not know that the cute girl you smiled at in the coffee shop this morning could be your wife some day.  You do not know that your child will take his or her first steps or say your name as his first words when you wake up in the morning. 

The point of the matter is life is absolutely uncertain- but I can’t think of anything more beautiful than that. You cannot let fear get in the way of living. 

Before I studied abroad, I am not ashamed to say that I was in a dark place in my life. I was genuinely not a happy person. I was trapped in the redundancy of my life. I am a very independent person, but I had been sheltered for all of my life. As cliché as this may sound, I felt like a caged bird, wanting to fly, but physically was not able to get out of that cage. Now, after having spent what was almost six months on the other side of the world in Sydney, Australia, (amongst other places I had the opportunity to travel to) I can genuinely say I am a happy person. 

I look back at things that I used to write, or existentialist quotes from my favorite authors I used to be able to relate to, and truly wonder how I could’ve ever felt so despondently towards the greatest gift we could be given- life. 

There is so much more to studying abroad than the school aspect of it. You meet new people every single day while traveling to such amazing, breath taking places. 

You immerse yourself in an entirely different culture. It is a euphoric high you couldn’t get from anything else if you tried. But most of all, the memories you make are ones that will certainly last you a lifetime.

Life pauses back in America. Do not be afraid to “miss out” on anything- your sorority or fraternity, your club or organization, your boyfriend or girlfriend or your family. All of those things will be back for you when you return. 

Remember that this truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. In fact, so many people look back on the chance that they may have had to study abroad and will tell you they regret not doing so. Others who have done so will tell you it was one of the best decisions they have ever made.

Don’t be one of those people. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone- you never know where life can take you.