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Written by Jonida Ndreaj

First of all, congratulations! The fact that a question like this keeps buzzing on your head is a good indicator that you have a keen interest regarding your education. Maybe you haven’t realised it yet, but you have already taken a decision. That decision is: I want to study, to contribute to my society by being a qualified, talented and energetic new professional boy or girl. The most challenging step is done. Now let’s get back to your question.

Is it a good idea to study abroad or is a curious and intriguing thought that I’m having? Let me tell you; it’s both. I’m sure that there are many reasons why you are considering this option. But, in case you can’t think of them right now, I’m here to help.

Let me tell you my story. When I was little, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to study, to get a profession that I was passionate about (even though by the time I didn’t know what that was). I wanted to be able to travel, because of my education, because of my studies, because of my background. But most importantly, I had the confidence that I could do it and do it great. It’s funny that I took that decision when I was just five, and you at least are a teenager. Well, that’s how it all begins. At this moment I’m studying in a beautiful country, Spain, in the aerospace engineering field. Now you now that as an engineer, writing is not my strongest point, but please bear with it.

Did this experience change me? Of course, and here’s how. To begin with, I’ve always been a highly empathic person. Being in a foreign country and meeting other international students like me makes you somehow part of their lives. And guess what, sometimes people have bad days, sometimes they feel nostalgic and homesick. In situations like these, all your comforting skills will come in handy. Just because it is a lot of information to process and adapt with, doesn’t mean it will be difficult. However, it for sure is overwhelming. Being able to listen, motivate and encourage, to inspire those that are now your friends is one of my most significant achievements of this experience.

Sharing my everyday life with these people doesn’t include just textbooks and exam studies. It is more than that. It has to do with reciprocally sharing cultures, mindsets, principles and values that I grew up with (now my mother is in the picture). This interchange did not only give me the ability to understand others better but also to get closer to my own culture. As now I’m not just a learner but also a teacher I’m able to see things from another perspective. Soon I realised that these sets of rules that we live by are not just that. They involve intense emotions and rational thoughts at the same time; they’re a historical representation, your history.

I can’t describe you with words how much more independent I’ve become. Starting from making up the bed every morning, so I can feel that I’ve started the day right (because of priorities), to managing studies efficiently and work at the same time are some of the indicators that I’m doing a good job. The ability to prioritise my tasks, to take risks, to be a better problem-solver has gotten stronger day by day. Establishing priorities hasn’t been more comfortable for me. I’m able to value my time, to distribute it evenly so I won’t let out any of my close people. All these organisational skills have the source on the fact that now I’m 100 percent independent. With independence also come responsibilities they say. Until you try it for yourself, you don’t know what you are missing.

Being in a foreign country has given me the opportunity to get to know a lot of people. The more I share my experience with them the more I appreciate my family and friends. It’s thanks to them the person that I’m today. This is something that you already know, but sometimes we get caught on our everyday routine, and we forget to express that appreciation that we have for our loved ones. Studying in a foreign country has given me the ability to learn to be present. Having that in mind I manage never to get lost in my work or studies, or to worry about things that are not under my control. In contrary, know I have a clear mind, with clear goals and objectives.

When I think that one day my studies will be over, I become nostalgic. You can tell, that I’m having a fantastic time and I’m enjoying every moment of it. One of the good sides of all this is that now I have two homes. I know that wherever my life will throw me with her plans, I will always have at least two families that want the best for me, that still believe in me, and that will always encourage me to be a better version of myself.

To be honest, I haven’t been happier in my life so far. And all that thanks to my five years old self who had the guts to believe in herself, to believe in getting better, to believe in something more significant.

Finding articles that list all the reasons why you should study abroad is easy. The good news is that they are right. People like me, like you, wrote them. They seem to be based on actual stories, experiences, feelings, thoughts. However, just because you read them doesn’t mean you’re part of the real deal. Honestly, if you felt inspired to read these sentences of my story, you will for sure find the inspiration needed to take this life-changing decision. Don’t forget, it has and always be up to you!