This week I revisited Montevideo, which was my hometown for last semester. When I arrived back on 1st August 2015, I was terrified. I had never even left Europe before, yet there I was, in a random Latin American country all the way down in the Southern hemisphere, all alone. Plus, I arrived in the dead of night, which made everything seem extra scary.
Fast forward to now, May 2016; as my taxi from Montevideo airport drove into the city, I felt a strange sense of comfort. I was arriving to a place I knew well, and that contains people I know and love.
When I left the first time, I said that Uruguay was done, that I’ve been there, done that, and I’d spend my next travel money seeing somewhere new. But somehow I was drawn to it again! I think its because I know that all of my international student friends will be leaving soon, and that my Uruguayan friends will be finishing University and going away. So if I didn’t revisit this semester, it would be too late! Things would never be the same.
I’m rambling a little because I’m in São Paulo airport now, waiting to go home to Florianópolis, and I’m really tired, but I promise I will get to the main point now!
The point is, last semester, arriving to Uruguay on my own was the scariest thing I’d ever done, it gave me butterflies wondering what the hell I was doing and how it would all work out. Now its a place where I feel at ease and know my way around. And when i arrived to Florianópolis, I was nervous too, but now I’m travelling back to it I feel like I’m on the way to my home from home.
So now I think I understand what the year abroad experience is about. It allows you to improve your languages, meet people from all walks of life, and learn more about yourself, but most of all, it expands your comfort zone by thousands of miles!
Now I feel like I really understand why people say that to break out of your comfort zone really is just to grow your comfort zone, and it’s a lesson I’ve enjoyed learning. I’m happy to say that at only 20 years old, my comfort zone already confidently includes living alone in random parts of Latin America like Montevideo and Florianópolis! It makes me excited to think about what ‘terrifying’ thing I will conquer next.
(I guess you’ll just have to watch this space to find out!) 🙂