Studying abroad has been an amazing experience. I have not only learned a lot from my classes, but I have learned about myself. The world has opened up to me and I cannot wait to explore it!
Before I even begin my last journal, I want to thank you all for reading about my journey. I would not have had the same experience without you! Know that you were a big part of my journey because you inspired me to ask more questions and learn more about the place I have been calling my home, Oxford.
I have had supportive people surrounding me throughout my life. Ever since I was a little kid, my mom has been encouraging me to always pursue my dreams. It was not until my senior year of high school that I really set my heart on studying abroad. My favorite teacher of all my years of going to school was my psychology teacher my senior year of high school. He not only inspired my love of psychology, but experiencing the world. He would say that learning about different cultures is an important part of understanding humans. I have kept in touch with my teacher since I have graduated from high school. He continues to encourage me to pursue my academic goals. My sister also studied abroad when she was in college. Knowing that she could accomplish her goals inspired me to pursue my dream of studying abroad too.
Before I left for England, my professor always said that this would be a life changing experience and I would be a different person coming home. I know now that she was right. It is not that I have changed my personality or I look different; it is that now I view the world differently. My perception of life has changed. I had some travel experience in the past, but it is completely different living in one place for a few months. I got to know the culture; what people say and do, how people travel, what the weather is like. It was like putting a puzzle together. Every week I was able to put together a few more pieces of the puzzle when I discovered something new about communication, nature, community or travel. There are still pieces missing here and there, because there are always new things to learn in a different culture other than my own.
After this experience, I have realized that there are so many more places to learn from, including the United States. The United States is so much bigger than I realized. I was able to fly to Ireland in an hour. That is like flying to northern California from southern California. I have not been to many different states in the United States and I want to discover all the cultural differences in our own country.
I have always wanted to help others, so that is why I decided to major in psychology. Psychology is the study of why individuals act the way they do. Studying abroad has given me a new perspective on how different every individual truly is. With this knowledge, I want to become an Occupational Therapist. An Occupational Therapist will help people learn techniques that will allow them to live their everyday life after they have had a major accident or health problem that has handicapped them in some way. I want to pursue this occupation, because I believe that life is a gift. I want to help people who have been injured to live a life that they have always wanted to, even with an injury. This job will allow me to travel and help people all over the world, because there are people who need help to overcome their injuries in every country.
Studying abroad has helped me to grow up and discover who I am. This experience has inspired me to explore more and learn more. Learning about Shakespeare, where he lived and performed his plays, has been a very special experience. I have a deeper understanding of the message he was trying to get across to his audience. There is something magical about being in the same place that inspired authors and painters. I get to see paintings of artists that I am studying, up close. I walk down streets that have been around for hundreds of years. I found myself looking forward to class and wondering what we were going to learn about this week and where we were going to go to apply the knowledge we had just acquired.
Dreaming big is the best motivation. I made a goal to study abroad and I accomplished it. I think the best thing about achieving goals is getting to set a new goal. I know that I am already thinking about my next goal, and I know that one of my goals will be to come back to Oxford, because it has truly become my home away from home.