By Cheyenne Rode, Vancouver Island University, winner of the BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship, member of the Writer and Residence Team
Study Abroad Destination: the Netherlands
There is not a lot I would change about my study abroad experiences. Every part of them was a learning experience about my surroundings and myself. Although, if could tweak a few aspects of my times abroad I would tell myself three things:
- Worry less. When describing myself, I would say that I like to control what is going on around me. This can lead to me worrying about what is going to happen. I think I spent more time in the beginning of my exchange worrying than enjoying. Of course, I was learning how to be on my own in a foreign place, but looking back I wish I didn’t stress so much and just relaxed!
- Don’t over plan. Studying abroad isn’t about planning all the trips you want to take, all the places you want to visit, and all the activities you are going to do. It is about enjoying the experience for what it is. You will meet people that will change your plans and your trips and make them better. You will discover new places or do things you would never think of doing beforehand. I found for myself some of the most memorable experiences on my study abroad trip were spontaneous.
- Traveling stereotypes are usually true. By stereotypes I mean the traveler beware stories. My experience with this is when I got pick pocketed. I heard time and time again that Barcelona, Spain was notorious for the amount of people who get pick pocketed there. Being an optimistic travel though I did not think this was likely to happen to me. Unfortunately it did. I left my little purse open by my side for what seemed like mere moments and my wallet was gone. Thankfully I had taken the majority of my essentials out before adventuring the town, but after that experience I am a lot more careful when I hear rumors about a town or place.