- Independence/Confidence – Traveling forces you outside of your comfort zone, people around you may talk in different languages, signs will be harder to follow phones may not work and plenty other things will force you to muster up the courage to take a chance and see if it works. Although it can be wrong ~cue getting on the bus going the wrong way in Berlin~ it has taught me to be confident with my choices, even if they’re wrong. With that, has come my ability to be independent. Although I feel like I was fairly independent before coming abroad, as I sit here at Gruz Port in Dubrovnik, Croatia, halfway through my solo trip through Croatia, I’ve realized how much more independent I’ve become. There is a true sense of achievement traveling, and managing on my own, and it has truly brought my independence to the next level.
- Saying Hello – With traveling alone, I’ve realized how important it is to simply say hello. I have met some of the nicest people, including people I have plenty in common with, by saying hi to the people on my tours, trains and more. Nothing beats a long uber ride than striking up an interesting conversation with a local, which can get pretttty interesting when you tell them you’re from the USA ~ cue taxi driver in Amsterdam asking if we knew Beyonce.
- Happiness – This one I can pretty much source back to my host family, but I;ve realized that it is SO important to be happy. I mean if someone told me I’d have traveled to as many places as I did this semester five years ago I would never had thought it was possible. I am so grateful and thankful for everything I’ve been able to do this semester and the best think I can do in return is being happy and am reminded of it every once in a while ~ “Smile, you’re on holiday!” – Random man in Athens, Greece.
- Values – Traveling has forced me to gain a different perspective on the world, and I have learned how other people view things similarly and/or differently than myself. By being abroad, and being asked questions about my opinions I’ve slowly gained a better stance and understanding of my values.
- Community – Many may have heard of the accident that occurred in Denmark affecting students as DIS, last Sunday morning every DIS student woke up to an email with the tragic news of the passing of two fellow DIS students after a boating accident. The accident was a result of a jet ski sailing at high speeds, colliding with the boat holding 7 DIS students and then fleeing the scene. As a result, the DIS community’s heart has shattered as two students simply enjoying the end of the semester sunlight will not be returning home to their family. Nobody is ever prepared for the tragedies that can ensue while abroad, I cannot imagine the heartbreak their close family and friends feel, although I did not personally know the two students involved, what I have come to realize is the community that DIS has created over the course of these last four months.