Benjamin Saff: Reflecting on Life Abroad

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With only one month left of my residence here in Mannheim, I am reflecting more and more on this experience thus far. I began to think about my desired outcomes, how I’ve been affected and what the future holds for me. I will write this post – which is a bit personal – in hopes that it can help others make that final step to go abroad.

I never envisioned myself studying abroad in college. It seemed unimaginable for me. But then entering university, I began adopting a new mind-set of accepting new opportunities as they arose. Study abroad became a real opportunity for me and I basically said “Why not?” I had no current knowledge of Germany and never before had even a remote desire to visit. But it became for me a once in a lifetime chance to study in a foreign land. And it evolved into so much more.

My only goal upon entering this study abroad opportunity was to experience it to the fullest. It all came down to an experience in the unknown for me, a way to push myself to the next level of culture experience and life experience. A friend told me after he studied abroad for a year, he felt empowered, knowing that he challenged himself to live in a foreign country for a year. After his experience, he was able to better perceive the endless possibilities this world has to offer. I feel the same – blessed and enlightened. So if my only goal was to experience study abroad and go with the flow, I feel that I’ve met this goal to the fullest and reaped innumerable benefits both culturally and spiritually in the process.

I’m elated by the potential effects this experience will have on my future. It has opened new doors, expanding the possible directions of my path in ways I never previously imagined. I’m now considering completing a master’s degree in Germany in the future, both for the financial benefits and the environmental enjoyment. Also I’ve learned more about the life in general and have become more aware of my world. With this new awareness of the world I have been able to understand of how little I yet know. This awareness and humility, I hope will guide me in my future and benefit my own path as well as those that I affect on my way.

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