University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Taylor Coulson, Alumni Insider
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you?
My study abroad experienced shaped me today into a person who is patient, independent, intrigued, and down to adventure. Even though I got sick while abroad, there was so much to offer in Barcelona that I couldn't turn down just because I was feeling a little down-I recovered faster than usual because I was excited to explore and have new sights to see and places to step on. I am now a go-getter I would say. I reword things that don't make sense to others because I understand that even though it does to me, that maybe there's a better way to portray it. I toured the city via bicycle by myself for days in a row and was so content. I have a journal to record what matters most to me during my time spent adventuring. Experience is far more important to me than text from a book. Being able to say, "I've been there" or even think back to the times shared with people that were strangers a few months ago and feel so overwhelmed with happiness they're in your life now, that's powerful. I never know when to stop questioning anything now. I wonder the history behind walls in places that are new and old. I wonder which stories and memories are the ones I will love so much that I will relive one day with my future family and friends? I know I'll be back and studying abroad created even more wanderlust in me. Places I never dreamed of going are now on my bucket list and I realize that they ARE achievable and easy to accomplish as long as I manage my time and money. I am now more patient with other people, public transportation, customer service industries, and colleagues.
2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?
It will be the best time of your life. Exploring new places with new people is so exciting. There will never be a more perfect time in your life to do it than when you're in college, regardless of which year you are. You'll bring back so much knowledge about things you didn't even realize you were learning when you're there. You wont be sorry, you'll be better. You'll leave behind a routine you didn't even realize you had, and will create a brand new one that is inconsistent but it will fit. It'll teach you more about yourself than you knew was possible and will create a network of lifelong friends and potential coworkers or neighbors one day. It's like you're finally the one writing the story to your own life when you come abroad. You get to choose what you do with every opportunity that gets handed to you now. Before when you were contributing to that routine, you didn't think about what you did with your life or what you'll do in the future, you definitely will now. Every single aspect of your life will change if it needs to. Of course you'll abide by the values you've always had but you'll be more independent and realize what weaknesses need to be strengthened. It's a lot of self growth and new opportunities you create for yourself from the moment you step onto that plane.