Do you realize how close minded you are? Here’s how I figured out how close minded I was. I started saying YES to everything.
About 2 years ago, I made the choice to study abroad. Being born and raised in Montana, I loved it. I loved the outdoors, and the opportunity of adventure at any point. What I didn’t realize was this was the ONLY thing I knew. I always deemed Montana, Missoula specifically, as a place where most people are well rounded people, and I think relatively, they may be. However, staying in one place your whole life can be very toxic.
I moved to Australia around two years ago, but not just to Australia, but to one of the biggest foreign exchange schools in the world. When I met people of new and different cultures, I noticed immediately the assumptions I made, and how quickly I again banded myself with people similar to myself. I hated myself for it. I understand this is a natural human function, but as I noticed it happening to me, I brainstormed how to break myself away from it. What I did was, I started saying yes to everything. When someone asked me to do something, or an opportunity presented itself, or some random person on the street asked me to talk, I would always say yes, and I held myself to it. I started saying yes to opportunities I, in the past, would have turned down immediately for reasons to do with pride, fear, etc.
I very quickly saw the change it made, and yes, I did have the occasional situations I definitely should have said no to. But in the long run, I saw myself becoming a much more experienced, well rounded, and cultured person. I started going places, eating things, and hanging out with people I would have never before. It was absolutely liberating and I’m so glad I did it. I saw it as “going with the flow”, and instead of doing that with my own interest in mind, I truly did whatever opportunity came to me. I put myself in danger, in so many awkward situations, but overall, experienced life as it came to me. I made way more friends than I ever would have, and experienced life lessons at a much faster rate than I previously would have. Free yourself, open your mind, SAY YES!!
Do you like a variety of outdoor activities and breathtaking views?
Well, it can’t get much better than this. Firstly Missoula is located close to the beautiful Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, which are a must see. Secondly there’s a great variety of close by destinations, such as Lolo Peak, Bison Range, Pattee Canyon etc. If you’re up to exploring other states, Olympic National Park isn’t too far away either. When you travel, you will most likely get to know some locals too, such as bisons, deer and black bears. Remember to bring your camera.
Always wanted to be a part of the sports hype but couldn’t find the right team?
Search no more! Our very own Griz family is open to every single person from a toddler to grandparents. Whatever game (football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey) you see, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
Looking for the best academics?
Speaking from experience: Here in Missoula you’ll have teachers who inspire and encourage you. They will help you to succeed in work life after school. They do care for you. (Coming from people who study Communications, Politics, Philosophy, English & Arabics, Pharmacy, Physics and Space Science).
The campus environment for studies is pretty neat too. Where else do you have trees growing inside your study building?
I promise you one thing: If you do come here, you will have the best time of your life.
Delivered to you by one happy exchange student who totally lost her heart to Montana.
Many young adults in university are often asked what they
want to do after graduation. A common answer most of the time is to travel
before they must settle down. For a lot of people, making sure they have the
best experience on their trip is revolved around how they budget and plan. From
my traveling experiences myself and asking my friends Alyssa and Sarah, we’ve
easily found that these aren’t the most important things. Luckily for you, I
was able to put together what I thought were the most valuable lessons my
friends and I learned from our travels that we wished we would have known before,
so you don’t have to do it the hard way and learn yourself.
1. Take Time to Learn the Language and Culture
No matter where you go even just learning how to say hello
or things like please and thank you can change how you are seen and treated by
locals. Learning a couple words can give you advantages in a lot of situations.
Lucky for us there are many free apps that work without wi-fi that you can
carry with you. One of my favorites is DuoLingo. Or as Sarah says, “download
google translate, don’t let language barrier scare you! They make for such
great stories and a way to expericnce a different culture!”. There is nothing
worse than trying to ask for help from someone who doesn’t understand you and
that you don’t understand and making yourself frustrated. Going along with
language, if you pick up or hear about cultural cues certain places may have,
don’t be afraid to use them and show that you have respect for their culture or
country while you are there. You are their guest and more people are likely to
help you and if they notice you are being respectful.
2. Don’t be Afraid to Talk to Locals
Going hand in hand with downloading an app or trying to
learn some of the language, locals know more about the place you’re in than the
internet does. When you are in a new of different place, locals will end up
being your best friends. Most the time you will learn about the best
restaurants or the most satisfying things to do in that specific area when you
ask the people who live there for suggestions. Touristy things are fun to do
and partake in, but don’t plan your whole trip around them. Take time to find things that will be the most
enjoyable to you and your experience in a new and exciting place. Having your
own unique experiences in a place that others may not have had the chance to
have will make your trip so much more valuable to you.
3. Be Open to Change
if you plan everything out, the chances of you having a perfect trip is
unrealistic. If you plan your whole trip out ahead of time, it may end up
closing a lot of opportunities you could have had. Some of the greatest
experiences that come from traveling are those that weren’t meant to happen and
are spontaneous without prior planning. When asking my friend Alyssa about her
travels and a piece of advice she wanted to share was to “be okay with disappointment. Just because you’ve always
wanted to go somewhere and just because everyone else goes somewhere doesn’t
necessarily mean it’s good. Some of the best memories are ones that no one else
4. Hostels are Your Friends
When you’re traveling, alone or with people don’t be scared
to stay in hostels. Hostels get a bad reputation for being dirty or sketchy,
but sometimes they can be nicer than some hotels in certain places and it’s a
great way to meet people. People who are staying in hostels are usually by
themselves traveling and are always looking to make new friends. Not to mention
being able to have a connection with someone they usually have valuable stories
to share and recommendations on things to do and not do while you are visiting
place, which can be very helpful to you in the future. Not only are hostels
usually extremely inexpensive, but they even may provide meals when you are
staying which can help you save money to use for other things on your trip.
5. Pack Light and Pack Smart
Being an over packer myself, it took me a couple tries until
I finally realized I don’t need to have a different outfit every day. When you
look back on your trip you won’t think about the outfits you had, but you will
remember your experience. Don’t forget that you can buy things as you go, and
laundromats exist in a lot of different countries. You also don’t have to lug
around a huge suitcase everywhere you go. Less is always more when traveling. Try
not to take your passport or wallet with you anywhere unless you really need
it, and if you do need it make sure its in an extremely safe place. Alyssa
likes to use pre-paid cards whenever she goes places so if it does get stolen,
its not all her money in one place. All banks have access to give you these and
its easier to load money onto a temporary card then must cancel every card you
brought with you that may have been stolen or misplaced.
6. Don’t be Afraid to Travel Alone
Traveling alone allows you to do the things that you want to do. When you are with a group or friends you are more likely to do things that you don’t find interesting or may feel like you are wasting part of your trip. Even if you are with your friends Alyssa says “if you really want to do something, but no one wants to go with you don’t sacrifice that for something else or cop out and stay in. Being alone gives you time to relax and reset which is hard to do if you’re constantly around people”. Use your time on your trip the way it will be most beneficial to you and that you will get the best experience for yourself. Wherever your travels take you, always make it something enjoyable for yourself and use it as a learning opportunity to grow as a person. If you need time alone and are traveling with friends, take that time for yourself! From the words of my friend Sarah, “The imperfections, the shortcomings, they’re the best part of travel. Traveling puts you in tough situations that help you grow, put you out of your comfort zone and push you to be creative. Things go wrong and things go great, and it all makes for an overall phenomenal experience and something to look back on”.
Thank you to my friends Alyssa and Sarah for sharing their experiences with me! Follow their travels and Instagram’s here!