This past Sunday marked the halfway point of my 3 months abroad here in Costa Rica. It wasn’t until then that I really felt a little homesick for the first time. This is not the same for everyone; some have felt immediately homesick, and some not at all. I’m a very independent person, so I tend to steer towards the ladder. But, I will admit that I did feel the sniffles coming on a little bit on Sunday. In Costa Rica, Valentine’s Day is not just for couples; it’s for friends too. It’s as much of a friend’s appreciation day as it is a romantic one. Thus, the nostalgia began. I saw pictures of all of my best friends from home having a Valentine’s party together, and I missed them a lot. But, I do not wish they were here studying abroad with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them and miss them very much. But I am very thankful that I am able to experience my abroad program without them. If my best friends were here, I would feel too comfortable, and that’s not what studying abroad is about. It’s actually the opposite; it’s all about being uncomfortable. When you are uncomfortable, out of your comfort zone, you learn the most. You learn the most about your surroundings and also yourself. Because my best friends are not here I am able to make new best friends out of strangers. I am able to approach and engage new people by myself. I am able to do what it is that I want; I don’t have to settle because of influence by my friends. Studying abroad is a huge step in your academic career and also one of the biggest steps you can take outside of your comfort zone.  By doing it without your friends, you will get to call all the shots and be able to create the experience you want without any regret. And ultimately, you will become incredibly self-reliant, and you will most likely thank yourself fro gaining that attribute for the rest of your life.


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