Life Lessons


Study Abroad Blog

Life Lessons


phone booth



London, in short, was an absolute dream - though it was also so much more than that. In the time leading up to the trip, I was expecting an exciting adventure; instead, I was met with a life changing experience. I was introduced to parts of myself that I didn't know existed. And found myself with a renewed quality of life which had been desperately needed. 

It is hard to pick a favorite memory or moment from my time studying abroad because I will remember almost every aspect of it for the rest of my life. I wrote poetry, the likes of which I hadn't created in years. I unveiled a newfound love of heritage and architecture through getting to see England's historic buildings everyday. Having the opportunity to walk throughout the Oxford University campus reminded me why I dreamed of going to college in the first place.

And while indulging in high tea, I was flooded with memories from my childhood tea parties with my best friends which showed me that the parts of myself that I thought were long gone have been here all along. During our many significant excursions, I was often overwhelmed with emotions while taking in the beauty and authenticity of it all. Despite having found that some truths are universal, I felt honored to get to witness firsthand the differences between cultures in East Texas, London, and Amsterdam where I spent my free weekend. 



I learned many meaningful lessons while abroad - most of which were outside of the classroom walls. While walking one day in a sea of people in London, I realized that I had passed hundreds of faces - most of which I'd never see again. And it was that moment that I understood how very little some things matter in the grand scheme of things. I recognized the beauty in this small sum of mattering that is me. That I can express myself however I please because for the most part, people won't be paying attention anyway. I can dance in the street when I hear music that I love, I can laugh loudly at jokes without fear, and I can cry during movies that make me feel something. This life can be, and should be, experienced to the fullest. I've lived twenty years being quiet such as walking through the house on tip toes and racing to open the microwave at one second so it doesn't beep and disturb those around me. Trying to put myself in a box, so I can save others any discomfort that my truth may cause. But if there's anything of importance that I've learned from my time studying abroad, it's that life is meant to be lived out loud. And for the duration of my program, I became different in this way. I walked with my shoulders back and my heart open - eager to feel as much as I could whether that be joy, pain, or freedom. 


I was worried at first that when I came back home, I would go back to the way I was before my trip - tip toeing in a hushed manner about this path of life. But I have found in the time since I returned that I am not the same. I'm strolling flat footed and loud and unafraid of the world! I joked initially that I was a new woman after my journey abroad, but I'm not sure that's the case. For I am the same person with all of the same baggage of my past and all of the same dreams and hopes and concerns. Instead, what I have is a new perspective of this thing called life which seems to me to be of much more value after all. 


This post was contributed by Hailey, a study abroad alumni from Summer 2023. Hailey is a psychology major who went abroad as a part of the UT Tyler Faculty Led Psychology program in England.