Day 6 of the Write Tribe Festival of Words #6 and today’s prompt is : Feature a guest – a guest post / an interview. another student from EF AcademyWrite Tribe is featuring – Ana Luiza shares life lessons from living abroad.
Life Lessons From Living Abroad
Ana Luiza is a 17 year old student from Brazil. Born in a Portuguese family, she studies in EF Academy, Oxford. She dreams of travelling the world and becoming a journalist, is passionate about dance and crazy for her own curly hair. She describes herself as a perfectionist, chocolate addict and a total history nerd.
When I moved from my home country, Brazil, to study at EF Academy, Oxford I was tired of hearing about how studying abroad was a great experience. Not that I disagreed or that I didn’t want to do it myself, but it sounded to me as one of these generic beliefs that are simply part of a common sense. My parents had always instigated me to leave my country and search for knowledge overseas, in a “magical adventure that would forever change my life and the way I see the world around me”. And I was extremely curious about what all of that meant.
Of course, living in the UK, so far away from where I had been born and raised, could only teach me lots of things about the British culture I didn’t know before — and about many other cultures too, since EF Academy is an international school with people from all over the world. I didn’t want to just hear about it anymore, I wanted to live the experience myself. I wanted to know specifically what kind of things studying abroad would teach me and how exactly it felt to learn them. So I left.
Learning about ends and beginnings
I learned about ends and beginnings, in the first place. I learned that sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to get what you want. I had to leave many people I love, my passion and dance, in the pursuit of a bigger dream: to go after better education than my country could offer me so that I can become an outstanding journalist one day. I learned that everything is a matter of priorities. Thus I learned about responsibilities as well. I came to realise that, although I’d much rather go out with my friends and have fun, I’d have to struggle to achieve the results I wanted. Inside the classrooms, I learned to be critical on the issues I’m given, but too be balanced as well. I learned that “any argument must be supported by evidence” and that doesn’t only work for essays but for real life situations and discussions as well.
Life lessons from a dorm room!
Living in a dorm room, I learned that the dishes aren’t washed by themselves and the laundry isn’t done (and that white and coloured clothes can actually be washed together as long as you use cold water). I learned how to budget, take out money and to go to the bank by myself. I also learned to do airport stuff: go through immigration, how much luggage I’m allowed, what documents I might be asked for. I even learned to take the bus, something I would never do back home! OK, I’m still quite bad with directions but I’m lucky to have some amazing friends who won’t let me get lost, and speaking about my friends, I learned about love. How cliche does that sound?
“Unfortunately”, dear reader, the girl who was trying to run away from common sense from the beginning, has to say that she learned about love. As you could probably expect… I learned that, even though my friends and I come from different countries and cultures, we can still understand and support each other through hard times. I learned about late night conversations before curfew, doing face masks together and “Ana, I have gossip!”. I learned about I-believe-in-you’s and “therapy sessions” with some Norwegian chocolate. I learned to curse in German, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian and French. I learned to love long-weekends, because they mean traveling or just spending some time with the amazing people I’ve met in my journey, and the weekends after exams, because that is when we can finally go out and have fun together after a lot of hard work.
And it was not before I packed my belongings that I learned all these things. It was only after leaving my family, friends and everything that was once part of my daily life that I truly understood why studying broad is such a “great experience”. And I hope that one day you have the opportunity to understand it (and feel it) too.
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