It has already been 4 full months that I’ve lived in London! When I think about it, I’ve grown so much in ways that I could not even imagine. Here are 4 things I’ve learned abroad that will ultimately be a key factor in my success as a person, an actress, an activist and a citizen.
1. You can enjoy life and be productive!
As a young college student, it can be difficult to gage when the party stops and when work has to end. Study abroad students particularly have to balance being socially and culturally immersed in a new city while also maintaining their studies. Travelling from country to country while doing homework on flights prepared me for a productive future ahead that I hope will include work and travel at the same time.
2. Take your time
When I first arrived in London, it felt like everything was going to disappear if I didn’t see it immediately. I burned myself out rushing and trying to take pictures, while trying to be everywhere at once. Later in the semester, I took a step back and decided to take my time enjoying the city and soaking in all of the special moments. I feel the same way about my future. Although I want to be prepared for what’s to come after graduation, I’m okay with taking time to assure the future I choose is perfectly curated for me.
3. It’s okay to leave your friends and family
This was the hardest for me to learn. As I grew accustomed to London, I found myself trying to be involved with everyone’s life back home. The difficulty with moving forward is that you tend to leave people behind. Even people you’ve spent your entire life with! The people in your life who really love you want to see you succeed and move towards your goals! Moving forward without the same people around also helps you to make room to meet others. Without this experience I think I would have always had the fear of leaving behind the people I love.
4. Reinvention is key
I turned 21 years old in London. I never thought of birthdays as huge milestones but in this new country, I realized I had the opportunity to grow and step into adulthood. The maturity and awareness of the world that I gained from study abroad has changed my life forever. Reinvention did not mean that everything about me before study abroad was negative; it meant I was only tapping into a small percentage of the person I know I can truly be.
Before I came to London, I felt like I was just a black girl trying to go to college to fight against statistics. Now I am a global citizen. I am ready to return and figure out the path that is best for me. Without this experience, I would not have the confidence to dive afraid. I feel so blessed to have these 4 things with me as I make my journey back to America.