Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone While Studying Abroad

October 31, 2017

When I arrived in England, everything was new and my whole life was changing. There was no way to avoid it, so I embraced it instead.

Before I left home, I was comfortable with life. I had a routine, a list of favorite places that I visited often, and a group of friends that I spent most of my time with. I was content with the ordinary, and the thought of change and new things scared me.

My life while studying abroad has been a series of taking chances. Whether it’s as small as asking for the most popular item on the menu or as big as going on a trip where I didn’t know a single soul. These leaps of faith have led me to new places, friends, and memories that I have fallen in love with and will never forget. I have begun to realize that living in your comfort zone is living in fear.

Life should be about taking chances and going on adventures. Otherwise, you end up with no stories and only a handful of memories. On the other hand, I won’t say stepping out of your comfort zone is easy. It takes deliberate choices and plenty of courage. Here are a few ideas to take that first leap of faith:

Step into a restaurant alone. Start out small. For most of our lives, we’ve probably looked at strangers eating alone in a restaurant and pitied them for not having any company. Once you’ve studied abroad, your whole perspective will change. Eating alone in a restaurant is thrilling and peaceful all at once. It can be scary walking in alone, and you will probably feel a bit uncomfortable. Trust me, it will all be worth it in the end when you get to enjoy some amazing food and time for people-watching.

Visit a place you’ve never heard of. One of the best parts about studying abroad is the ability to travel. Don’t waste your weekends binge-watching movies. Take advantage of your free time and explore. Whether it’s in your continent, your country, or your city, try somewhere new. Even better: visit a place you’ve never heard of. A restaurant you walked past on the street, a theatre you’ve never seen before or a random city on the map. Grab some friends and go on an adventure!

Be intentionally spontaneous. I know, I know. Aren’t those contradicting themselves? No, they’re really not. It takes a certain amount of determination to be spontaneous. The next time someone asks you to try something new, be ready to say yes. Be intentional in seeking out opportunities that you wouldn’t have ever pictured yourself doing. You might surprise yourself and fall in love with a new hobby, place or food. The best trips I’ve taken have all been spur of the moment decisions!

Studying abroad has allowed me to become a more adventurous, courageous version of myself. I will forever be grateful for that. Now, it’s time to embark on yet another adventure!

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