I’m flicking through my Instagram feed early on a Saturday morning, breezing through the photos and captions of the previous nights’ outings, until I come across one of my friends posing in front of the London Eye. And another one of my friends casually sidling up against the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And another one legally having a beer in Ireland. Three more pictures consequently follow before I put my phone back on the charger and roll back over in bed, attempting to sleep off my jealousy.
Once upon a time, I was going to go abroad. I had my sights set on Greece, or Paris, or England, or all three. I dreamed of jetsetting all over Europe, of having a travel blog, of having a host family that I would write back and forth to after my months of living with them had passed. I online shopped for passport cases and planned how to lose weight so I could gain it all back abroad and not worry about it. It was all planned out and it was all going to be perfect.
Until I finally realized that I couldn’t go abroad. In the end, it came down to timing, finances, and the opportunity not presenting itself. It took a long time, but eventually I became okay with not going abroad. There are times when the jealousy does present itself, but I have learned that it is simply okay to stay on campus and continue with normal college student life. Here is a list of reasons why not going abroad is okay.
1. Financially, it made more sense
At first glance, this seems strange. Going abroad is supposed to be this kind of priceless experience, but that experience still comes with a price tag, believe it or not. Money did come down to be a serious concern in my situation only because there were other things that needed to be paid for. Traveling abroad is still expensive no matter how you spin it, and with car, phone, and college payments, it didn’t seem financially feasible for me. For most people, money is a serious issue, but take comfort in the fact that at some point you will have the financial freedom to travel.
2. I got more involved on campus
When I realized that going abroad was no longer feasible, I began to invest myself in more opportunities on campus that I could work with continuously throughout my college years. This allowed for better professional and personal connections. Campus life is the life for me and I never would have realized that if I had gone abroad. The amount of friends and people that I have met simply from remaining on campus is phenomenal. Involvement during college looks good on job applications just like studying abroad does, so be happy that you will still have a plethora of opportunities in the future even if you did not travel abroad.
3. I am graduating on time–with the degree that I want.
College is an expensive endeavor, that much is undeniable. Many college students double-major, minor, have concentrations or certificates, and when the prospect of traveling abroad is introduced, credits and requirements for a specific degree can become difficult. Graduating on time and with a degree that will land you a job is important for many college students, and going abroad can easily throw a wrench in those plans. I am majoring in what I love and when I graduate, I will be ecstatic to leave with a degree I am both happy and confident with. If the correct and timely steps are not taken in preparation for going abroad, that dream trip abroad may be better left as a dream after all.
4. I am comfortable with my comfort zone
Wanderlust is a fleeting feeling. It boiled under my skin, and as time passed, it was quelled. Going abroad would have pushed me very, very far out of my comfort zone, and after some reflection, I realized I wasn’t ready. The homesickness would have been unbearable and would have made the experience more uncomfortable than it should be. Travelling abroad can be scary, and as deeply as they might want to, some people are not ready for it quite yet. Flying into another time zone meant flying out of my comfort zone. Truth be told, I just wasn’t ready. Time does change things, however, so remember that eventually you will be ready to push yourself forward into a new culture and a whole new world.
5. There will always be time for travel.
Traveling will always be possible. This is the biggest thing that comforted me when I couldn’t go abroad. There will always be time, what will waiting a few years do? By putting it off, I can travel the world with my best friends after we graduate and I am happy to say those plans are currently in motion. By waiting a little while, I can save up my money and focus on the trip of a lifetime without interrupting my on-campus college experience. Travelling abroad is often said to be the experience of a lifetime, but isn’t travelling by itself also the experience of a lifetime? Good things come to those who wait and the wait makes it more worth it.
Traveling abroad is a common college experience that many people enjoy and treasure for a long time. However, sometimes things don’t work out, and it’s okay. Not going abroad is okay. College is an experience that you should enjoy and treasure, anyway, so don’t let a little travel bug stop you. There will always be another flight and another chance to travel the world.