I am 18 years old and just graduated high school a couple of months ago. I was ranked top 5 out of 750 kids in my class, but unlike many students that have a high GPA I decided to do something different. I decided to take a year off and live abroad in Europe.
One week from today I will be on an airplane, by myself, on my way to Italy, in small town just south of Milan called Cremona, to learn a great deal from a different culture in hopes of opening my mind a little more to marvelous things and expanding my horizon. The international organization that is sending me abroad is called Rotary. I will be there for 1 whole year, staying with 3 different host families and will be enrolled in a language school (not apart of a university).
Many people don’t agree with this decision and are concerned that I am taking a year off from school. I always wonder why people can possible discourage me from traveling the world. I am not in any rush to finish school and work 9 hours a day for the rest of my life.. I am trying to enjoy my youth years. Today is in fact the youngest day of your life so take advantage of it. Also, people forget that students go to college to learn and gain knowledge, but by traveling abroad you can learn more in one year than you can in possibly all your 4 years of high school. And yes I’m talking about learning more about life and not just parabolas and that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
You have to be able to experience life a little bit and experiment whats around you and not only whats in front of you or else you don’t know what your missing out on. I have heard many millionaires say that one of the key factors of success is having the ability to adapt to different and shifting environments. If you can’t do this you will not be successful; and traveling the world teaches you to be adaptable. You have to be able to adapt to a different culture, language, custom, environment, climate, people around you and much more.
On a deeper thought, do you know what one of the most common questions asked in human history is? I’ve asked this question before and I’m sure you have too. It is “What is the purpose of life?”
Sigmund Freud says in his book ‘Civilization and its Discontents’
That this question has been asked countless times without receiving a satisfactory answer and probably will remain so. So he says that we must turn to the less ambitious question based on human behavior and we do what we do. That question is “What do people demand out of life and wish to achieve in it?”
The answer to this question is easy.. Happiness. People strive for happiness. We want to become happy and to remain so. That’s why I chose to do this exchange. Not only will I grow more as a person and gain a better understanding of the world around me but it will make me happy. Probably the most happiest I have ever been in my whole life. And it will be a lesson and memory I will cherish forever.