On Saturday afternoon I had a pleasant deviation from the normal. A friend I had while studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain in 2007 was passing through Buenos Aires with another friend and we met up to pass a few hours together in the afternoon. Even though we had lost touch since leaving Spain, I saw via Facebook that he was in town, and we planned to meet up by the Evita Museum and then check out Recoleta. Though our paths have been significantly different since college study abroad kids, we found incredible similarities in how our experiences shaped us and left us feeling about life abroad.
I won’t go into details, but he also lived abroad recently in Iraq, working with the Department of Justice. It would seem like our experiences are totally different, but deep down we had those same stories of high points and low points, ultimately leaving us with a mixed feeling on life abroad, yet hoping that it was all for the good in the end. It’s always difficult to sum up this life of ours or say in simple words what we’ve done, but one thing that is for certain is that it’s a possibility.
People always say that they wish they could live abroad, that they wish they had traveled more or could do it all over again. The truth is that you really can. There are always going to be things back home, whether it be a job, family, loans, or whatever. But in the end it comes down to you. Can you chin up and take the leap of faith? In most cases it takes a suitcase and airline ticket. As a student there is a world of opportunity to study abroad. No matter what your major is you can usually find a program which relates to your field of study, and though it might be difficult to match up credits or even hold you back a semester, it’s possible.
Work abroad is not merely limited to teaching English. You can take on a number of projects as a volunteer or working with a private firm. You don’t even have to have an office job. Depending on your profession, you might be able to work remotely with an Internet connection. There seems to be a myth or mystique around the life of an expat. While there are advantages, it can be isolating and lonely. In some cases you have intense short term friendships which come and go, and in others you have long drawn casual friends who you see once in a while. It requires an ability to adapt and change, but mainly the will to continue and accept day by day.
So what’s your excuse? If you want to go abroad, do it already.