Fall of 2018 I studied abroad in Bangkok, Thailand with a study abroad program called International Studies Abroad (ISA). It was the best and most life-changing experience of my life. From pushing my boundaries, going to the other side of the world, and immersing myself in a culture that I have never had any exposure to, I was able to adapt to an uncomfortable situation and make it a new home. I think people learn the most when they’re in uncomfortable situations and it certainly rings true for me.

One of the main and most important skills I gained from this experience was my independence. Although a sense of independence is gained when leaving home and coming to college, it is amplified tenfold when studying abroad. Something about traveling across the world, moving into a completely unknown city you know nothing about, with a whole new set of strangers, all by yourself can really test your ability to be comfortable in your independence and have faith in your own ability to not only survive but also make an experience out of your time abroad. By the end of my time I had gained a newfound confidence in my ability to care for and go out and have fun by myself. I feel prepared for anything thrown my way and feel the most comfortable in my own skin I have ever felt. I have a new respect and trust for myself.

The best part about being able to grow and learn all these new life lessons was being able to do them in Thailand. Bangkok and the city I went to school in, Salaya, was such a breath of fresh air compared to the Western style of living that I have experienced studying in the United States in the South. I cherish the way of life that I got to experience which pulled me away from a routinized, strict, schedule type of lifestyle and brought me into a very relaxed and tranquil state of mind. It was also nice to find very compatible and caring friends in the ISA program.

I studied with ISA because I met an ISA representative at a conference I had attended in the Fall of 2017 and she explained to me the infinite options that ISA had to offer. With an incredible user-friendly website and programs in countries all around the world, it wasn’t hard for me to find a program fit for me and my major. Although I would suggest searching for more options, or even direct enrolling in the university you find abroad, ISA and other programs like it are very helpful and give you guidance and assistance to help you safely travel and study abroad.

Elnaz Nourabadi is majoring in Marketing. She spent Fall, 2018 studying in Bangkok, Thailand through ISA. Elnaz had the following to say about her time abroad, “Study abroad to expand your mind and way of life. Put yourself in new situations and allow yourself to grow uninhibited in a new place. Believe in your ability to make it anywhere on your own.”

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