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Discovering Myself Abroad

Maps, ordering an Uber, emergency calls and an occasional social media update: I depend on my iPhone to guide me throughout my time abroad. One can, therefore, imagine my panic when it decided not to charge just a few days from my spring break trip.
 Walking through Berlin, Germany was a sobering experience. Photo of the Holacaust Memorial.

Leaving my home college to live abroad has offered many challenges but also a chance to discover who I am on the inside. This time abroad has reactivated some of my old passions and personality traits, created new ones and boosted confidence in myself.
 While my phone was dead I went on a hike to the village of Eze, a town between Nice and Monaco.

Despite the panicked moments, a few days without a phone was good for me it made me focus on more important things than sharing my experiences. It reminded me of earlier days without a phone it was also enhancing my moments abroad. Rather than checking my phone for the latest Snapchat or social media update, it shifted my focus on my passions and the people around me.
 Walking through European capitals has certainly increased my interest in global affairs. Photo of Buckingham Palace in London, England.

Living abroad has allowed me to reexamine true passions that were suppressed by past insecurities. For example, a passion for history and its stories that came through playing with medieval mini figures as a kid, suppressed by a feeling that it was somehow immature to like such things, is being reawakened as I walk through castles, cathedrals and WWII bunkers. Meanwhile walking through European capitals has reawakened my passion for politics and global affairs.
 I live in a gorgeous city but even the most gorgeous (and safe) places can seem dangerous when they are not familiar.

As I sorted through my phone issue, I needed to travel around the local area without a phone, something I never thought I would be able to do. It was unsettling thinking that if something were to happen there would be no easy way to contact help. Given the circumstances however, I was forced to take the risk.

Living abroad offers an enormous confidence boost. Traveling across multiple European cities, sometimes on my own, has elevated my comfort limit and increased confidence in myself. If I can take a train to a concentration camp in a Berlin suburb on my own or figure out what my faith means to how I should act on another part of the world, there are a lot of other things that appear easier to undertake and approach.

 Studying Abroad creates confidence. A statue of King Richard I outside the British House of Parliament.

It was weird walking into a French Apple Store. Except for the language, the Apple Store felt just like America with an identical store set-up and employees in blue shirts. After flagging down an Apple employee and apologizing for my lack of French I walked out of the store with a replacement phone and greater confidence in my ability to deal with issues abroad. When the benefits of studying abroad are examined its proponents often talk about how it boosts ones resume with, for example, cultural experience and a global worldview, all valid points, but more important than any resume boost is the personal benefits living abroad offers. Living here I have discovered new and old passions and traits and a confidence to walk in my truer self.

Kyle S. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in the French Rivera, France. He is currently a Sophomore studying Marketing at Cedarville University.

Kyle Spencer is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in French Riviera, France (Sophia Antipolis) in French Riviera, France (Sophia Antipolis), and is currently studying at Cedarville University.
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