By work experience student Erin Appleton
Travelling, has been among the most daunting, yet thrilling experiences of my life.
Many travellers would realise that trekking across the globe has its obvious perks.
Who wouldn’t want to experience the joy of seeing the most infatuating landmarks, or to dine on the various incredible cuisines around the world?
But there is one other thing that I have loved and learnt from with my numerous travels around the globe.
It is that is one of the best learning experiences you will ever encounter in your life.
July 2017 would mark the time I officially began my travels to France and Belgium.
I had experienced the pleasure of travelling to the vast country that holds what many may know as ‘The City of Love’ previously, but on this occasion, the trip was different.
This trip abroad marked the first instance of an experience overseas without the company of my family by my side.
As much as I would say that I was truly thrilled to be travelling without the constant harassment of my parents, the least I could say was that I was terrified, although I could never mention this to anyone.
For the first time in my life, I had to experience full independence for myself.
Fourteen days of self-management, in two foreign countries.
Rightly I was nervous of what was yet to come. The nerves however, they didn’t last long.
Although I didn’t have the company of close family by my side, having no one close allowed me to take the opportunity to make company with those around me on this incredible experience.
Fourteen other students from my school were able to join me on this journey, all of whom I was never close with before the trip, but all that changed during the times when we were all stuck together for two weeks, seeing each other for hours on end everyday.
Connections were bound to be made.
It’s the little things that you always hold dear to your heart during these experiences.
Instances such as travelling together in the cities, and realising how easily it is to get scammed, or how simple it is to misunderstand the locals with our average knowledge of foreign languages, and getting lost while leaving people behind accidently.
As frustrating as these things were at the time, I have the humour to look back at and laugh at these situations.
We learnt how to recognise scammers after the two incidents where we should have been more cautious, learning how to properly communicate with locals, and finally after many times, being able to remember the metro system, streets, while also composing a better counting system for our group within the busy city streets.
All these rather annoying, time consuming experiences allowed myself to gain something I will forever treasure, and that is the many learning experiences I came across during my travels.
I was able to discover how to be properly independent, learning how to make conversation with those who may not even know my language, how to teach myself to get out of messy situations with others, and learning how to be confident enough to make friends with those who I never would’ve guessed would make such an impact.
I gained wisdom, experience and friends.
So I recommend to others, let your hair down; pack a bag and travel to wherever your heart is content.
Along the way, make some mistakes, get lost, gain friends, and laugh off all the mishaps along the way.
It is one of the best things you will ever experience.