“Oh my God I can’t believe it; I’ve never been this far away from home!”
Here in Hamburg I had the opportunity to go to a concert of the Kaiser Chiefs – by the way they were amazing, but this is beyond my point, I just wanted to clear up the lyrics above. Those lyrics never suited me so well and I really loved them! Since I was very young I longed for an exchange program, an internship or similar. I don’t know where the idea came from, but since I was 12 years old I knew I would travel alone one day.
“Alone” might sound too lonely for some people, but this was always what I was curious about. To me, this “alone” means challenge and discoveries about yourself, your potential, your abilities and, of course, your failures. I’m happy to say that one of the goals for 2011 was to realize my internship and I did it! So, what are your goals for 2012? If you also want to travel around and have a new experience in your life this year, you might want to take a look at this article!
There are some simple questions – with difficult answers – that you have to ask yourself so you can take the most out of your experience. I believe that only when you know what you really want you can do it. Unfortunately I can’t provide you with all the answers and the amount of questions might scare you, but this is not my intention. I only want to help with some good questions.
The first thing that I recommend is to analyze the stage of your life. What are you doing now? Are you still at school? Are you already in university? Are you taking a Master degree? Are you working? Did you just finish your studies (whatever they were) and you want to have a “break” before taking the next step of your life? What I’m basically trying to make you see is whether you can stop whatever you are doing now. Furthermore there are different programs for each stage of your life.
Before choosing any kind of program, which is the purpose of your international experience? What do you want to learn? Because yes, you will learn a lot! Do you just want to learn how it is like to live by yourself? Maybe you want to learn English or improve any other language that you are interested in? Do you want to enhance your curriculum vitae with an internship? Or maybe you want to do a master or bachelor abroad? Try to discover which of these goals will be more significant for your life. Also don’t forget your timing, plan your career, your studies and when you want to travel. It’s much easier if you set a date. It will definitely help you to organize documents or to schedule those extra English lessons that you think you will need.
More to the personal side: are you prepared to spend some time far away from your family and friends? If you think you are not, don’t feel ashamed, maybe you just need to wait a few more years. If you are, don’t feel ashamed either, going abroad doesn’t mean that you love them less. Anyway sometimes this question can only be truly answered when you are already abroad!
Well, I guess this is enough to confuse your mind. However with time the answers will come and hopefully you will be able to enjoy your international experience!