If you asked me four months ago the amount of impact studying abroad would have on my life I would’ve answered that question very differently from what I know now. Studying abroad has been one of the most rewarding, and difficult experiences I have ever gone through in my 20 years of living. I thought I knew what I wanted in life before studying abroad, but because of the opportunities, knowledge, and increase of awareness of the world around me things have changed, and now I am coming to the realization that that is okay.
Before studying abroad I had these expectations about experiencing a different culture, atmosphere, and language. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I did not realize the amount of reflection I would have over my own life, and what I thought to be true to myself. I have exactly 21 days left in Paris, but the previous 113 have taught me that sometimes the dreams that you imagine for yourself, that you chase every single day to reach, are sometimes not what you expected at all.
I knew coming to Paris I wanted to be a International and Human Rights Lawyer, but after coming to terms with my global awareness, responsibility, and practice the goals and dreams I had for myself have shifted. I am currently facing the uncomfortable conversation with myself, and re-evaluating what I believe in, what my passions are, what I value the most, and ultimately what do I want to do to contribute to this world and our society? One thing I know is that I want to dedicate my life to enacting and enabling change for a better society for all, but it’s now aligning the how and what with my why, and what I want to do.
Studying abroad has changed my worldview, how I want to participate in community service that can strengthen communities and improve lives, the way I develop relationships with others from different backgrounds, recognizing the impact of issues and systems at different scales, and the way to communicate ideas and information when addressing global and cultural issues or situations. It has made me face hard realities of life, but how to be a global citizen that will engage in meaningful and effective conversations with others. I would’ve never expected my purpose and dreams in life to completely change when studying abroad, but when you move your life to a different country with no familiarity you change in a way you never thought possible.