I gained more than just an education on my trip abroad
My study abroad trip not only enhanced my education, improved my network, but also helped me grow as a person in multiple ways. Before my trip abroad, I was very quiet, always having a lot to say but didn’t know how to say it. I never felt comfortable talking to big crowds or people I was unfamiliar with.
The first thing I told my friends when I arrived home was “On this trip, I discovered that I am an extrovert with social anxiety, but I am overcoming my social anxiety and I can thank my experience abroad for that” (in so many words).
I always thought I was an introvert growing up. I kept to myself; didn’t say much in crowds or when I felt uncomfortable. During my trip abroad, I realized how much I actually enjoyed networking. The experience not only pushed me out my comfort zone, but also encouraged me to venture out on my own.
It’s hard to not grow as a person when you’re surrounded by so much support from other amazing people. I found it ironic that by the end of the trip, I was actually known as one of the more outgoing, outspoken, and loud members of the group.
When I interview with companies and they ask me about my experience abroad, the first thing I say is how much it benefited my “soft skills.” I was not a bad communicator before the trip, but the trip made me more comfortable actually engaging with people.
Now I am the type of person that will strike up a conversation with a random person in an elevator. I learned that most of the time people do want to talk to you; they just do not always know how to start the conversation. Through this trip, I’ve developed the ability to be comfortable and confident enough to start the conversation.
The whole experience really boosted my confidence and self-esteem in general. I now know I have the ability to hold a conversation and confidence in that what I have to say is valid. I feel more confident in interviews, when networking, and in my general everyday life. I learned that I actually have good ideas and that there are like-minded individuals in the business environment that are interested in what I have to say.
Since my trip abroad, my life has been on a huge upswing. The momentum of this experience is bringing me to new levels in my career pursuit. I have had nothing but positive conversations about my decision and nearly every professional that I have spoken to about it admitted that they wish they would have taken advantage of an opportunity like this when they were in college.
I highly recommend an experience like this to anyone with an interest in business and wants to improve their soft skills. It can give you the confidence to success and help you get your feet wet in the business environment.