Breaking My Comfort Zone Abroad

by Starr Ramos

My resolution for this year was to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I can proudly say I accomplished this over the summer as I interned abroad in Dublin, Ireland for 9 weeks alone. 

One thing you need to know about me is that I am not very social and have anxiety about being by myself, so this was a big deal.

If you told me freshman year I would solo travel across the world for an extended period of time, I wouldn’t have believed it. At that point in my life, I would barely go to the dining hall without company. I was so dependent on the presence of people to make me feel comfortable that I trapped myself in a bubble, hindering my growth and restricting me from making certain connections. This is what led me to apply for a study abroad program, even if it meant I was going to be alone. 

Days before my flight would take off, I broke down in fear of diving into the unknown. I was so paranoid, but looking back, I see it was a good fear. I was breaking out of my comfort zone which is never easy, but definitely necessary.

During my time in Europe, I learned to go to restaurants, movies and museums alone; it was freeing. While humans are social beings, finding peace within oneself is enriching. I am so grateful that I was able to break out of my comfort zone and travel the world. 

Besides living in the beautiful country of Ireland, I had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam, Munich, Paris and London. I made friends during my stay and was able to travel with them. This was another big step for me since I don’t make friends easily.

The one trip where I went by myself, to Amsterdam, was by far my favorite. I don’t know if it was because I was alone but there was something about that city that felt so right. 

While abroad, I learned the valuable lesson of learning to be comfortable with my own presence. Solo traveling and studying abroad is something I recommend to everyone. I challenge whomever is reading this to find a way to break out of your own comfort zone before 2019 ends because I know I definitely did. 

A version of this originally appeared in
The Teller November 2019 Issue #8

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