As a first-year college student, I felt as if it was crucial for me to experience all that Georgia State had to offer me. I was eager to meet new people, try new things, and explore the world outside of the town I grew up in. I knew that there was an endless set of opportunities waiting for me, and I wasted no time searching for them. Like a majority of college students, I too wanted to study abroad at some point in my college career, and I was lucky enough to find a program that allowed me to do so as my first year of college came to a close.
I participated in a Georgia State study abroad program, Mathematical Biology in Transylvania, and my maymester experience changed my perspective on the world. I did not know what I expected to gain from the experience simply because I did not know much about Romania, but the fear of regret pushed me towards truly taking advantage of the opportunity I was presented with. I had a chance to visit a foreign country, and I couldn’t let that chance slip away because there was no guarantee that I would get another one.
Aside from learning about mathematical biology, I was able to learn about the Romanian culture, and that was such an important element of my overall experience. I learned the historical significance of so many different buildings and locations, and I embraced the cultural norms that were entirely foreign to me, but I found the most surprising aspect of Romanian culture to be its importance to the Romanian people. Many of the individuals I talked to were very passionate about their culture, and they were not afraid to acknowledge both the good and the bad parts of their heritage. I will always remember the genuine conversations I had with some of the Romanian people, because through those conversations I realized that my life would be drastically different if I were born in a different place, and that valuable lesson widened my perspective on the world that we live in.
I gained a lot from my study abroad experience, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities presented to them. A significant outcome of my experience is the tremendous amount of realization that came along with it. Before my trip, I was completely oblivious to the fact that I took certain things for granted, but I embraced the culture that I was temporarily living in, and as a result I was able to see things from a perspective other than my own. The best advice I can give anyone studying abroad is to approach the experience with fearless curiosity. Meet new people, try new things, and explore the world beyond your comfort zone. The world has a lot to offer, and you can either search for opportunities to experience life, or search for excuses to let those opportunities slip away.