Are you considering studying abroad? Are you thinking about how this experience could benefit you personally? Here is an insight into Olivia’s personal journey studying abroad from France to Canada filled with interesting perspectives, thoughtful considerations and sound advice. Take care and let yourself be inspired!
An introduction: Olivia The Free-Spirit
My name is Olivia. I’m 26 years old. I was born in Paris and raised in a small city in France. Right now I am a student in Montréal. I am a lover of life, people and food. I also love art in all its form: poetry, writing, drawing, photography, music and I try to live creatively every single day and listen to my passion.
I grew up in a family where we’ve constantly been taught that everything is possible. This philosophy is very important for me, it explains why I keep on looking for freedom, why I keep on pushing my potential. I am a dream walker, a forever free spirit.
My wish is to be a life motivator at some point by helping people to find their inner strength. At the end of my life, if people could say that I breathed freedom, that I was a mix between many things that were opposite yet at the same complementary, but most importantly that resonated with my being, it would be a great thing!
Studying abroad on the other side of the world
At first, it wasn’t about studying. It was about me trying to discover the world. I could go anywhere. I felt like I needed to leave the place where I was born to see what the world had to offer. I was convinced that it had way more to offer than what I was accustomed to and comfortable with. I wanted to grow and I needed to do it faster.
I’ve always been someone curious and I wanted more for my life than what my environment could offer me. I wanted to prove myself that, as a young woman of colour who came from a small city, I could do more, I could be more than what was expected of me. This experience truly was a way to challenge myself, I was eager to push back all the limits that society was putting in front of me.
Then, I had the opportunity to study abroad, I applied and a couple of months after I was in Montréal! I felt like life (stars, destiny, God.. call it what you want) was pushing me in that direction. It was one of the best decision I’ve made for myself so far.
Studying abroad and connecting with other cultures
Travelling gives me an amazing vision of the world. I get to meet different people, from different backgrounds, who grew up in different parts of the world. Yet, at the same time, I think it is amazing how I still find many similarities, a common set of values.
We are taught to be self-centered, to fear what is different from us. To fear what we often hear as being “ the other one”. I have a problem with this dichotomy which moreover becomes irrelevant once you settle somewhere else. Once you get to live outside your own country you become the “other one”, it is a humbling experience. This experience enabled me to feel more connected to the world.
Integrating into a new community
One of my best friend from France moved to Montréal as well and we decided to live together. She was and still is my solid wall in this crazy world. I actually never was alone. Then, throughout my friend, I also met amazing people who helped me and facilitated my integration. Moving somewhere where you already have a connection is not necessary to make the most of your new adventure, as long as you are active and open-minded, but I guess it always tremendously facilitates the integration process.
My recommendations for future travellers also interested in studying abroad
If you want to travel abroad, do it. It will change your life for the best. Let your fears behind. Things are going to be great. Just make sure that you have a great support system before leaving and try your best to build a strong support system once there, to find good people to help you.
Being away from everything that you know is not an easy thing. You won’t succeed alone. You will know loneliness, disappointment, fear, and stress. So you have to build around you a healthy environment. Then, of course, enjoy your experience! Allow your trip to surprise you!
© Pictures – Olivia