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students in Europe

Elena Reis

Passport Europe, 2015

Elena Reis in Europe

What was the scariest part about thinking about study abroad? What were you worried about before you left?

I'm a commuter student and because of this I find comfort in being able to get in my car, driving home and having my parents right there whenever I need them. I had my parents there doing a good portion of things for me and I never truly understood why there were always complaining. I was a bit afraid because this was the first time I was traveling without my parents and the first time I had to be responsible for everything (my money, laundry, cleaning my room). I was worried because even though the U.S. and Europe have a couple similarities it is a whole new world and can be overwhelming at times.
What was the best part about studying abroad?
Elena Reis in EuropeI love to travel and being given the opportunity to see this whole new world was honestly the best part. Also, being able to find fly from one country to another for a cheap price was amazing because as a group we were able to pretty much travel to the entire west side of Europe in just four months and not a lot of people are lucky enough to enjoy the same experience. 

What would you say to someone who wasn’t sure about studying abroad?
I would tell them that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if they are able to go not to hesitate. After college is done, working and traveling to Europe for fours months sounds like the opening sentence to a fairytale novel because there is most likely no chance in that happening. As I said before, I am a commuter and to be honest I was told by many people that it is surprising that I actually went because we are so used to coming to school and then going to work or home and repeating that five times a week. If given the chance to travel the world and also see and make wonderful memories and friendships that will last you a lifetime, don't second guess it. Take it, and I will see you in four months!
If at all, how do you think studying abroad changed you?
Studying abroad without a doubt changed me, I am now more responsible in every aspect possible. Most people who live in the U.S. are hindered by what Elena Reis in EuropeProfessor DeFeis would call "American Blinders," because most of us just see the U.S., and New York especially, as the center of the world. But the truth is that there is a whole world out there and that knowing about other cultures and customs is an important lesson than a textbook can't fully teach you. Living away from my parents in a completely different continent helped me learn that I am capable of being a responsible human being and no longer need my parents chasing me around making sure I am doing everything that needs to be done. In all, studying abroad was the absolute best decision I have ever made.