Leaving My Comfort Zone Behind

 Photo Source: https://www.benvenutolimos.com/blog/need-know-visiting-italy-march/

Photo Source: https://www.benvenutolimos.com/blog/need-know-visiting-italy-march/

The fantasy that is Rome: Devouring hearty servings of pasta, riding mopeds through the cobblestone streets, and of course...meeting Paolo at the Trevi Fountain. (Cue Hillary Duff- What Dreams Are Made Of

Clearly traveling to the Eternal City will help me become a sensational pop star like Lizzie McGuire, but what more can I gain from this once in a lifetime experience?  

First of all, I am a firm believer in pushing myself out of my comfort zone. As creatures of habit, I understand that human beings quickly fall into routines that restrict our ability to prosper intellectually, socially, spiritually, and personally. Because of this, for the past year I have been continuously reminding myself to take even the smallest of steps out of my comfort zone on a daily basis.

In doing this, I have worked diligently to refrain from uttering phrases like: "I can't, not now, if only, maybe one day." These words, although seemingly small, are like mountains standing between people and their definition of success. I can proudly say that I plan on leveling every one of those mountains by taking the greatest leap out of my comfort zone to date- studying abroad in Rome. By doing so, I expect to open up a world of possibilities that I otherwise wouldn't have. A few of these include:

1. Experiencing new cultures

I have never been out of the country before so just leaving the United States is going to be quite a culture shock for me. Having been born and raised in the midwest, I think that the culture on either coast is very different from my own- boy am I in for a wakeup call. Although I am slightly aprehensive, I am also ecstatic to have the privilege to immerse myself in a wildly different culture by taking Italian, learning about the rich Roman history, and interacting with the European people. And hey, if all else fails everybody likes gelato, right?

2. Professional Growth

If you are in the market for a new job or possibly a summer internship (like myself), you can likely attest to the competitive nature that accompanies the modern day hiring process. I feel like when applying for jobs now-a-days I need to know everything under the sun to be considered qualified. I must have superb interpersonal skills; be proficient in Microsoft Office; understand Photoshop, Indesign, and Illustrator; have the ability to juggle while simultaneously riding a unicycle; and of course, know the solution to world hunger. 

All jokes aside, studying abroad will give me valuable skills that I can carry over into my professional career. These skills include adaptability, flexibility, confidence, independence, and language proficiency to name a few. 

3. Improved Reflection

Reflecting on my life experiences is something I am constantly wishing I did more. Whether it be taking more photos or keeping track of my daily goals and achievements, I always catch myself thinking, why don't I do more of that? Studying abroad gives me the perfect opportunity to improve by keeping this blog, having beautiful landscapes to take photos of, and being in a place that is truly inspiring. I am hoping to become a Social Media Intern for Iowa State University's Study Abroad Office, which would not only help me achieve this goal but also give me the opportunity to become a resource for other students looking to embark on a study abroad journey of their own. 

Overall, I strongly believe that studying abroad will be a life changing experience and I can't wait to see where the journey takes me. I will be keeping this blog to share not only my study abroad adventures, but any experience that pushes me out of my comfort zone and helps me grow as an individual. In the mean time, I will be frantically packing my life into two large suitcases and praying I don't forget anything.

I may not know much about traveling halfway across the world but I do know one thing for sure, I am definitely leaving my comfort zone behind.