If you are thinking of going abroad, I would advise that you take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Studying abroad has truly changed my life in more ways than I had imagined it would. I left Vancouver with great anxieties with regards to the journey I was about to partake in. I was excited, but unsure of how I would succeed in different country on the other side of the world. I When I arrived In Vienna, I was full of curiosity and questioned everything; It was the first time I ventured off without my family and long term boyfriend of 7 years. As time went on, I learned to go with the flow and rely on my own instincts to guide me. I learned a lot about myself as an individual, and the experience boosted my confidence and jump started my journey into adulthood.
I returned with a greater appreciation for life fueled by the amazing adventures and people I was fortunate enough to meet. I was humbled to have experienced the fear and courage associated with picking up and moving to a country. In turn I have become more conscience about having a presence and a purpose in life, as opposed to being passive and uninvolved like I was prior to my departure. As a bonus I also gained a greater appreciation of money, (budgeting, debt etc.) and how to spend it accordingly. As they say, “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”- Anonymous
I often find myself at a loss for words, when I reflect on my experience. Since I have returned I have been inspired to participate in our campus community and provide others with the opportunity of connecting to other international students. I am currently volunteering as a mentor for the Centre for International Students Experience (CIE), in coordinating events for our exchanges so that they too are provided with more opportunities to grow as individuals. My goal is to be able to have them reflect back on their time spent at Capilano and see that they were able to challenge themselves in ways they may not have thought were possible. I want to provide them with opportunities that show them how wonderful Canada is; because as much as I enjoyed being abroad, Vancouver is a wonderful place to return home too.
Overall, I do recommend this experience to any of my peers, family members and friends. This experience opened up a whole new chapter of my life. Not only did I grow as an individual, my relationship was strengthened, I grew as a student, and I grew as a Canadian citizen. Though I never thought I would have ever done anything like an exchange semester, I cannot imagine what life would be like had I not submitted my application for placement. I look forward to a future full of travels and I hope to continue to grow by seizing as many opportunities as I can. With my new found outlook on life, I also hope to inspire those around me in reaching their goals. Anything is possible, you just need to set aside your fear and the courage to overcome will follow suit.
Read Samantha's full report(.pdf) on her semester abroad at FHWien University of Applied Sciences in Vienna, Austria.