Out of My Comfort Zone

Guest Post By: Aranya Kitnikone, a Junior studying Human Resources Management and Economics. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exploration Seminar for Early Fall Start in Britain, during 2022.

I had many firsts going on this study abroad, it being my first time leaving North America, my first time traveling by myself, first time using communal bathrooms, and first time sharing a room with someone I did not know. My lifestyle and comfort I had known in the United States was turned upside down, and I found myself in more than a couple of uncomfortable situations. Despite such discomfort, I was excited for this taste of independence–I thought I had a taste of it living in Seattle, but my whole world just became so much different in the last month. I came in not knowing the people in my program, did not have any acquaintances in London, or any experience in traveling. All I had was an open mind and I was determined to push myself further out of my comfort zone. 

When I arrived in the United Kingdom, my sister came along with me to travel a week before the exploration seminar was to start. Having her by my side gave me a sense of comfort being abroad, but the day before I was to head out to Bath, my sister had flown out. It hit me then that I was alone in a completely unfamiliar country and city. It was a hurdle for me to put myself out there, especially being in a completely unfamiliar environment. But then my whole experience changed, and all it took was a “yes.”

I had arrived in Bath, eager to explore this newfound independence and excitement of being in a new country. My classmates had asked me if I wanted to go to a pub, and having just met them all that day, it was nerve wracking but nonetheless, I said yes.This was the transforming point of my experience as little did I know that these people were going to be some of my closest friends on the trip. 

Reflecting back, I am glad I said “yes.” Being the type of person who is more reserved or needs nights alone, it was important to know when I should go out of my comfort zone and when I should stay in it. I did have instances where I turned invitations down on this trip, and though I regret it because of the fear of missing out, I knew it was what I needed. It is important to know when you need a break, or when it is okay to stay in your comfort zone, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to say yes! Studying abroad has been a transformative experience that I will never regret, despite the dent in my wallet–-all you have to do is jump on the opportunity even if it is beyond what you’re comfortable with.

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