Taking the leap

For the past two years, I have been living and studying in Milan, probably mostly famous for being the fashion capital of Italy but I can assure you it has a lot more to offer than that. I have grown up in Denmark, went to kindergarten and school there and I have always loved the comfortable surroundings that only a home from childhood can give. Yet, sometime during high school I started to consider pursuing an educational path abroad (away from Denmark and the safe life I was used to). As you may have guessed what started as a seemingly random thought is now a reality for me.

Relocating to a different country and culture can be overwhelming, exciting, confusing, scary and the list continues – hardly words can describe the thoughts and feelings going through your body and mind when you step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. For me it was all of You might even expect that this jumble of emotions ebbs after some time, but even up until this day I still get overwhelmed by new impressions and circumstances.

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With fear of sounding too stereotypical and judgmental I must admit that I have had to get adjusted to a sometimes somewhat more rigid and bureaucratic society. The past two years I’ve spent most of the month of august in Milan which to my initial surprise mostly resembles a ghost town during this time. Many shops are closed and the streets and various means of public transportation are deserted. Naturally, with the exception of tourists coming from northern countries to feel a bit of the Milanese summer heat. Some might wonder how a city, and whole country, gets through an entire month where the work force is at its very minimum. While at first, I was slightly annoyed that the nearest open supermarket was now further away from my apartment, I have also enjoyed strolling the empty streets and taking the metro during rush hour without being cramped up next to sweaty strangers pushing to get in and out of a packed – this is even worse when the A/C in the metro fails to work properly.

I think that most people who have lived in two, or even more, countries can recognize the fact that no matter where in the world you live, you will always long for something you’ve left behind. Every place has its own upsides and downsides. That is what makes every place unique and your time and experience even more unforgettable and I believe it is important to embrace the differences you meet with an open mind and let yourself learn from it. Adjusting to different circumstances, considering other perspectives and putting in effort to accommodate is truly something that’ll grow you as a person.

Going abroad, whether for studies, work or travelling, is an unforgettable experience that’ll not only give you memories for life but, I dare say, also broaden your mindset and change your perspective on other people and cultures as well as on yourself.

Written by Mathilde Aarestrup

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