Alexandra Davis
    I was walking through the streets by myself and I just turned around and there was the magnificent sunset and I just stood there and stared at it and that was at the first defining moment for me.

    Alexandra Davis

    BBA Student

    NSEEC Business School, France - 2015 Spring

    Don’t look back!

    I do not believe in regrets or making mistakes…everything happens for a reason, everything helps provide prospective and helps shape our lives and define who we are. Without “mistakes” or “regrets” how will we learn and how will we learn about ourselves.

    I titled this “Don’t look back!” for a few reasons: First off, the introduction above. Don’t look back on decisions that you have made in a negative way, look TO them for advice on future experiences and decisions. Secondly, for the students who are thinking about going abroad…Say YES and don’t look back!  Yes, this is an expensive adventure but save up and enjoy what you can while you can, you will always be able to make more money when you return (if you return – who knows you may fall in love with where you are and just decide to stay).

    To be perfectly honest, there were times during my semester abroad where I made decision that  I wish I could change but I don’t regret them because I have learned more about myself from them. When I reflect back on those times and those decisions I can now see that I was going through culture shock and that is why I made the decisions that I did. I mean some of these decisions I am talking about are as small as “I should have gone out that night” or as big as “I should have travelled less during the semester, so that I could travel more after”. 

    Another point that I think is really important to talk about (a little off topic from the title but oh well!) is Culture Shock. I am a very well-traveled individual and I have been fortunate enough to take myself to different parts of the world and to experience different forms of culture shock. Up until this study abroad experience I had actually enjoyed culture shock –Odd thing to say I know, but it is true. When I experience culture shock I know that I have taken myself out of my comfort zone and taken myself on an adventure. However, this time the culture shock was a lot different than my previous experiences and I believe it had a lot do with the fact that I was “living abroad” versus “traveling abroad”. This was the first time since I was 15 (9 years) that I was not working. That alone was an odd and not necessarily comfortable revelation. In addition, due to an overall lack of school, I didn’t feel like a student either. For this period of time, I was feeling like I didn’t have purpose. I am a Type A personality and during the school semester I work full-time (32-40hr/wk) on top of being a full-time student…needless to say I am used to a very packed schedule and I went from that type of schedule to having literally nothing to do. I know some of you are thinking that is a blessing and for a small period of time I did as well, but then it started to dwell on my physique. Again, looking back, this is classic signs of culture shock right down to oversleeping and then switching to not enough sleep. The point that I want to make in this long topic detour is that even though I am an experienced traveler with a lot of exposure to culture shock, it didn’t seem to make a difference on this trip. So, please be prepared for it and remember that it affects everyone differently and that it is completely normal!

    This study abroad experience is an incredible opportunity and it is an opportunity that does not come around every day. I strongly advise all of you to take advantage of this time in your life when you have the ability to pick up everything and relocate for a few months. Once you graduate real life begins and things like this are not so easy. I think to finish off my blog I am going to quote Nike’s mantra and advertising slogan, “Just do it” and don’t look back!