There's this misconceived fear about going abroad. A fear that you will be robbed of some of your precious time at your home university. A fear that you will miss beloved time with close friends and everyone will grow closer without you. That you will feel left out of new inside jokes, that you're missing the party of the year, and that some of your favorite events and American holidays will continue on, not even acknowledging your absence. This, my friends, is called FOMO. It is the "fear of missing out." It is one of the reasons people choose to stay home; they are comfortable and having the time of their lives, so why leave?
I completely understand. I mean who doesn't absolutely love their time in college? But I'm here to tell you that there is something better. MUCH BETTER. After being in Europe for 6 months, I can testify that STUDYING ABROAD is the ultimate experience. That taking your quarter across oceans is worth it, and your time spent in a different country will be more valuable than anything else so far.
You grow so much in a different country and you will be pushed out of your comfort zone. Also, all your experiences will be 100 times better than at home. Halloween--try Barcelona. For Christmas--how about France? Great food and festivals--try Oktoberfest in Munich.
|Eiffel Tower, Paris|
|Park Guell, Barcelona|
You will experience new foods, cultures, religions, and make new friends. You will travel to more countries in a few months than people will in their whole lifetime. You will go to famous events around the world. You will pick up new languages. You will see the most breathtaking views. YOU WILL HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.
You just have to remember that your time abroad is unparalleled to anything else. You're only gone for a few months, and your home university will welcome you back when you return. My key tip if you're thinking about going abroad is to never let FOMO be the reason you stay home. On the weekend, instead of going to my school's recreation center or the beach (same old same old), I'm going to a beach off the coast of Italy or climbing the Alps in Switzerland. See?! Your friends will have FOMO of your life and experiences. I just can't even explain how amazing it is and how much it opens up your mind. You see and understand different ways of life, and appreciate the world and its beauty even more. Believe me, you're not missing out on anything back at school, so plan now to make going abroad happen for you! Get excited!
|Island of Capri|
|Hiking the Alps, Switzerland|
If you are abroad and still feel some twinges of FOMO, I have a tip for you too. LIVE IN THE PRESENT. I was walking to class one day catching up on social media, and saw pictures of my best friends having an incredible time together. I missed home for only a second, because when I looked up to see the cathedral on my way to class in SEVILLA, SPAIN and smelled the tapas and saw a flamenco dancer performing as the guitar music filled the air, there was no way I wished I was at home. From there, I decided to live here in the moment and make every second count. To not waste time living vicariously through everyone's posts, but to make my own memories here in Europe or wherever I may be. Your time abroad flashes by and you'll miss it once it's over. Enjoy your walks to class, talk to more locals, and go to fun events throughout the city. Eat, travel, and siesta when needed and keep loving every moment.
|Meeting my new roommates|
|The Cathedral in Sevilla, Spain|
Never forget how incredibly special going abroad is. Your friends, family and college will be there when you get back and your time away from them will go by so quickly. You will have so much fun exploring new countries with new friends, and believe me all your FOMO of home will fade away. You have nothing to be afraid of. Going abroad is the best decision I have ever made and I hope anyone's misgivings have been subdued. College is definitely the time to travel and explore, and chances like this rarely come by again. You will have FOMO of the study abroad experience if you don't act on it, so don't let anything hold you back! And if you are abroad, let nothing stand in the way of your happiness and joy of being in a new place. Live in the present and have the most fun you can. This world is incredible so go enjoy it and see more of it!
Paige Hurner is the Fall 2015 CEA MOJO Photographer in Sevilla, Spain. She is currently a junior California Polytechnic State University.
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