Live a life of no expectations
I think the number one lesson I learned while studying abroad is to live a life of no expectations.
Before studying abroad, I constantly had expectations about how different events would play out. Having constant expectations lead to feeling disappointed if things didn’t go my way.
Studying abroad taught me the beauty of the unexpected. Sometimes things won’t go your way, and that’s completely fine. It’s all about being thankful for what you have in the current moment.
Liz Stein is a US study abroad student studying speech therapy at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch
Live a balanced life
One of the most important things I learned about myself while studying abroad was how to live a balanced life.
I delved headfirst into my academics (not merely to get a good grade, but more importantly, to learn about our complicated world and become a more knowledgeable citizen). I discovered that I love philosophy, which actually integrates seamlessly into neuroscience—my major.
At the same time, I built meaningful relationships, learned to rock climb, became confident in my backcountry hiking skills, and went away most weekends on adventures with my friends.
When I return to my university in the US, I hope to carry forward this balance.
Taylor Weckstein is a US study abroad student studying psychology and neuroscience at the University of Otago in Dunedin
Independence and cultural diversity
I’ve learned to be independent; I know I can look after myself. Plus I understand many different cultures because I have studied with students from all over the world.
I have learned many things and had many experiences that I would not have had in Thailand. For example, I’ve learned how to catch a bus or walk to places (Thailand is very hot with bad traffic) and I now enjoy many different types of food.
I am more confident about making my own decisions about my future. Some of that is because of studying in New Zealand but some is also due to the fact that I am two years older than when I first arrived here!
Bai Yok is a Thai student at high school in Dunedin