I would love to avoid writing clichés. I will be truthful: studying abroad not only changes who you are on the inside, but also allows you to feel alive.
Feeling alive means many things, but I am writing about feeling truly yourself. Most of us live as a title: so and so’s son/daughter, student of ____ university, employee at a place, where we are from, etc. We fill our time by doing our obligations rather than decorating them. Going abroad for many is a chance to be away from all those identities, which defines us. It's a chance to be away from your friends, families, and most importantly, obligations.
After being in Chile, I primarily learned 2 aspects of life that many people have learned before:
- Time is precious. Decorate it with the people and events you will not regret.
- Accept the situation first; then you can start embracing the environment.
I always thought I needed to have an identity constantly throughout my life. I forced myself to hang out with people I did not want to just to feel “part of something.” However, studying abroad truly allows you to value your time and think about whom you want to spend your precious time with. It’s extremely limited. I spent my time with my host family, various international students, and also traveling. There are many options and time for you to try things you’ve always wanted to.
“Studying abroad is like being given million dollars to just blow on something you want to do. That million dollars is time so spend it wisely but spend it cause it will evaporate when you leave.”
When I first arrived in Chile, I wondered how I would live through 4.5months of this. Chile was something I was not expecting by coming to South America. I felt lost like a baby who could not freely nor fully express itself. I felt homesick.
Things are going to be different and it is extremely understandable to feel homesick and not love where you are. However, once I stopped searching and started finding, I overcame the homesickness to accept and adopt Chile as my new home. That achievement of making a completely foreign place your home is an amazing feat.
|Tango in Buenos Aires|
|St.Mary at San Cristobal in Santiago|
|Sunset from Easter Island|
|The Hand from Punta Del Este, Uruguay|
|Atacama Desert- Driest in the world|
|With my host mom- Vina Del Mar|
|Machu PIcchu with a unique friend|
|Patagonia- Walking towards the land where men stopped walking|
|Come experience it for yourself!|
Alexander Chung is the CEA MOJO in Viña Del Mar, Chile. He is currently a Senior at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.