Valuable lessons I am grateful to have learned from studying abroad.

Not having an unlimited amount of money has made for some of the best stories.

While traveling abroad, I was already loads of money in debt from college. I definitely had a budget, but still wanted to do and see everything. But some of the fondest memories I have are being an in-debt college student travelling for as cheap as possible. The memories of trekking to a farther airport for the cheapest flight, and meeting the men’s professional volleyball team in Croatia.  The nights hanging out with random people that shared rooms with me in hostels. I could go on forever.

I am much more independent than I give myself credit for.

There are times that I get lost travelling downtown Denver. When lost, I can easily use the GPS on my iPhone and find my way home. This requires no contact with anyone else, or public transportation because I own a car. Yet, I traveled all around Europe by foot, bike, train, bus, and plane with no GPS. When I was lost I would interact with people and ask questions. Because of these interactions, I found more useful ways to find the places I was searching for and received tips for great local spots on the way. I did all this without any technology, without any friends or family on speed dial… I did this by myself.

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I have been neglecting my own backyard.

Studying abroad has shown me that the world has so much to offer. I learned that Europe is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I was able to gain an appreciation for art and history. I made sure to get to know my city (Maastricht, Netherlands) as best as I could. When I returned to the U.S., I realized that I do not know my OWN city that well. I have lived in Colorado my entire life and I have never put as much effort into exploring and learning about my own home. Luckily, this is something that can be fixed.

And of course, there are fascinating people all over the world. Some of them may even become lifelong friends.

-Dylan, DU Abroad Peer Advisor

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