December 18, 2018
“Travel is not always pretty. It is not always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you.” – Anthony Bourdain Studying abroad brings numerous benefits. You’ll be more confident to connect with people, to improve your language and communication skills. You become more self-aware and you gain a lot of experience. And that is what you see on other people’s Instagram photos! However, what you don’t see in those fun photos are the challenges facing you when you are traveling! That’s right! Travel is not always pretty, and not always about fun and adventures. Today I will share with you some of the challenges I faced during the time I study in Philippines.
Challenge 1: Traveling can be uncomfortable
A lot of people just see the fun parts of the traveling. What they didn’t know is that traveling can be an uncomfortable experience. You have to worry about many things. Booking flights, looking for accommodation, balance out the comfort level and the money you can spend. It’s not always enjoyable. But good or bad it is worth it in the end. Honestly after going through the first phase of planning the trip, I finally realized that studying or traveling abroad is not as easy as I expected it to be.
Challenge 2: Traveling can be lonely
No I don’t mean a family trip where you travel with all your family members. I mean the kind of traveling where you go abroad on your own, be it to study or to work, and to stay there for an extended period of time. Traveling in such situation means you are to get away from the security of home, close family, and friends. You would feel lonely most of the time. Personally I felt homesick so much so that I called or chatted with my family or friends everyday. The good thing is your heart feel closer to them than ever when you are away. The benefits with this challenge is that you learn to enjoy on your own. You become more independent. You learn the grit to prove myself. The feelings of loneliness helped you to appreciate your family and friends more. At the same time, it drives you to break out from your previous social circle and to start making new friends. This resulted in creating some of the best memories I have yet. Again making friends and sharing experiences will help you to learn and integrate with the foreign cultures. Learning about cultures of different countries through people helps broadening your horizon.
Challenge 3: Striking a balance between travel and study/work
One of the biggest challenges I underwent was on how to manage my time. When you visit a new country for the first time, you want to try everything. But your time is limited. Because I have never visited Philippines before, I was very excited and keen on exploring every nook and cranny. This idea itself presented a new challenge for me – time management.
Study is my priority but I don’t want to give up on discovering the new places and visiting the tourist landmarks. It becomes more important than ever to balance between my time for work, study and exploration. This time management issue was completely novel to me. I believe I will survive and find my own balance in the end. As of now, I am still trying out different ways of organizing my itineraries.
All in all, if you want to improve your skills and change yourself, the best way is to change environment. Don’t stop learning and never give up.In my case, it did push me outside of my comfort zone when I have to live alone in another country. It was a journey of self-discovery. The change helped me to create a self awareness on different issues and different goals I have in my life. These changes would not have been possible without the challenges.
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