When I first got here, my friend asked me what my roses and thorns were. I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that back at home, everyday her and her family would list the roses, which were the good/best things that happened in the day, and the thorns, which were the bad/worse parts of the day. So since I have been here we started a tradition of everyday asking each other what our roses and thorns have been.
I think when studying abroad its important to take a minute and really consider what you have enjoyed, while also remembering sometimes things may not go as planned. No matter how small the rose may be, such as talking to a stranger and making them laugh or getting to feed kangaroos, it’s about appreciating the moment. Taking the time to actually think about each day has helped me appreciate this experience even more. I write down my roses and thorns for each day just to have something to look at when I may be struggling or in a mood. It has basically become my journal of life while abroad.
I was never one to really journal prior to coming here. I like writing but sometimes its hard to actually step away and just sit for a period of time and write about your day. I am constantly in my head and trying to figure out what to do next. It can be hard for me to just relax and appreciate the moment. So by keeping track of my roses and thorns, I have been able to truly take a minute and focus on each day. Each thorn helps you appreciate each rose even more.
One of the best things you can do while abroad is document and develop some sort of scrap book. I have kept a lot of the tickets or agendas of events I have gone to, so I will have something to look back on over the years. Studying abroad may only be a very short time in your life, but it is a monumental stepping stone in shaping an individual, especially one who may not have ever done something like this before. You have to be brave to actually choose to go to another country, on the other side of the world, with no one you know, no family members nearby, and a majority of the journey being unknown. You just have to remember every experience will have its roses and thorns.