the benefits of traveling abroad | five ways you can “get out”

Benefits of traveling abroad

Hey all, I’m Z from Sometimes Z Takes Pictures! You might’ve seen Rachel’s awesome photoshoot with me a few months ago – one of the most fun afternoons I’ve had in a while! Today I’m here not to flaunt my face (well…maybe a little) but to chat about studying abroad fall of last year. Whether you’re considering taking a semester to go abroad or reflecting on your college experience, I have a couple great reasons to take any kind of trip. I call them the reasons to “get out” – both physically and mentally. Enjoy!

Why you should travel abroad

1. Get outside your hometown
For me, “studying abroad” doesn’t necessarily mean, well, “abroad.” My school has options to study in Washington DC, Los Angeles, or New York CIty, all based upon when you’re majoring in. By saying “studying abroad” I’m saying you should explore somewhere different. If that means bustling Shanghai or rural Montana, doesn’t matter. Find a faraway place that makes you feel small….in the best way.

Living abroad

2. Get outside your comfort zone
From being lost in rural Poland where no one spoke English to being cornered in a pub in London where people spoke English a little too well, my comfort zone was pushed every step of my journey. My biggest statement about studying abroad is usually about trying everything you can. I strapped myself at different times because I was simply too scared or nervous to take a stab at some new food, location, or experience.

Getting out of your comfort zone by studying abroad

3. Get out of a normal sleep schedule
I’m only half kidding. One of the best parts of any trip is that feeling of waking up the morning after you’ve arrived with a ferocious hunger to get out and look at the city. Even though I rank sleep quite generously on my hierarchy of needs, I found myself rolling out of bed before nine (unheard of for me), anxious to see something new. Go somewhere that makes three hours of sleep worth it.

Study abroad

4. Get out of a “college cycle”
It’s different at every college, but usually study abroad options are stilted for sophomore or junior year – right when everyone starts to slip into a very dull routine. I went abroad fall of my sophomore year, which is right when I needed it. I didn’t have any leadership positions to keep up with, there were some toxic relationships I had to avoid for ninety days, and, frankly, I wanted to see if somewhere in Europe was “right” for me sometime in the future. Looking back, it was just the right time to shake up my four year plan.

Eiffel Tower at night Paris

5. Get out of a lifeplan
End of freshman year, I was getting way too comfortable. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, where I would live, and generally my post-grad plan. Did I mention I was eighteen? No, I know. Pretty stupid. After going abroad, all my streamlined thoughts about after college went awry. Now I was thinking “Hey, I could try working in London…” or “There’s so many paid options for traveling!” A year later, these thoughts have waned for the most part, but at least I’m keeping my mind open.

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Filed Under: Uncategorized3 Comments
  • Gina Alyse

    Such an awesome post! Thanks for sharing your tips about going abroad! These were not the usual tips I’ve been hearing, they are so real and realistic! I’m going abroad for a semester in a couple of weeks and although I’m excited for the unknown, it does take some courage and some work to get out of your comfort zone! Thanks for all your tips :)

    xo, gina

    • Z K

      Thanks so much Gina!!! Studying abroad is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I can guarantee it will be a wild ride. :] Let me know if you need any more advice and have buckets of fun wherever you are!

  • Alyssa Dillon

    Great post! I love that you did not just say to travel abroad but just outside of your comfort zone. Some of my favorite experiences are in cities right in the US.