For me, study abroad has been full of a lot of firsts. First time leaving the country; first time out of the state of Alabama for more than ten days, but some of these firsts haven’t been quite as extreme. I spent one of my first weekends in Grenoble, France an hour away from the city, skiing for the first time ever.
For those who don’t know me–this was a terrifying (exhilarating…eventually) experience, as I’m super clumsy. So relying on my own balance didn’t sound like something that I would particularly enjoy. But when I got to the mountains and saw the most snow a girl from Alabama has ever seen, I had a change of heart.
Traveling in a foreign country is entirely about experiencing new things, meeting new people and growing as a person. So why would I chose to say no to something that may seem a little scary? The hardest part about studying abroad is boarding your flight, and I did that without blinking my eyes. Two wooden french fries and a bunch of soft snow would be a piece of cake.
Of course, I was wrong about it being easy. Skiing is far from easy, but it wasn’t undo-able. What matters most is that even when I fell, I got back up and kept going. The accomplishment I felt when I successfully made it down a hill without falling made the falls worth it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is–not everything in your study abroad experience is going to live up to your expectations. We tend to imagine ourselves on grand adventures every day, but in reality, adventure is in the small accomplishments and experiences, if we allow them to be. But in order to have the opportunity for these small adventures, we must first let ourselves say yes to them.
Try not to say no for a day. It could take you places you never thought you’d end up.