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January 10th, 2018 – The day I began my six-month study abroad experience in London, England. Learning overseas, traveling to different countries, and making a ton of new friends from all over the world was something I knew I wanted to do since my freshman year of college; so much so, that I found myself sitting with Trish Mahaffey, the Coordinator of Study Abroad, trying to gather as much information about the program as I could. I was probably a little too excited, because I submitted my application a year-and-a-half before I was even set to leave for England.

Studying abroad was the single greatest experience of college, and dare I say, my entire life! I was taught so many valuable lessons while abroad. Here are some of the most notable ones:

Independence is Essential

You really learn to become more independent and self-sufficient while studying in another country. You won’t always have someone to go sightseeing or run errands with, so you learn to do activities on your own. Along the way, you’ll also learn how nice it is to do things for yourself and to not have to rely on others!

Managing Time is Crucial

Knowing that you have a paper due at noon, but you need to hop on a flight to Venice by 2:00, means you need to have your priorities straight. This trains you to learn how to manage your time and be more organized in order to stay on track academically while seeing the world. Everyone wants to travel as much as possible while abroad, but school always needs to come before anything else.

The World is Bigger Than You May Think

The biggest thing I took away from this entire experience is that the world is huge. Sometimes we can get caught up in our own little bubble because we become set in our daily routines. Going abroad has taught me that there is so much more to discover in the world. I have made friends from all over the place – from California, China, Brazil, and even Australia – and the connections I have made are going to last a lifetime.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to travel to 10 countries in six months. From trying escargot in Paris to climbing a volcano in Greece to freezing my butt off in Copenhagen or walking up and down many flights of stairs in Italy, this was definitely a “once in a lifetime” experience!

I strongly encourage anyone who is even thinking about possible studying abroad to just do it. I would do it all over again if I could, and you don’t want to sit around wondering: “What if?” Trust me – it is an experience you won’t want to miss out on!

Learn more about Centenary’s Study Abroad programs!

– Ieasha Jones

Current Student at Centenary University