Here’s the thing about love, it is never a dull topic. When I finished my degree and came back to my country I feel like I have a different perspective about love in general. Since I grew up in an Asian country, where speaking the topic of love loudly would be considered taboo. Here are the three things I learned about love when I was studying abroad.

You can fall in love with a place

The smell of the freshly baked croissant near your flat in Edinburgh. The taste of the hot chocolate with marshmallow that you shared with you friends on that windy afternoon. Until now, the smell and the taste of the town still lingers in my mind. Yes, we can fall in love with a place. And yes, it will be almost impossible to move on from it.

The ties between your own memories and experience and the place where it happened will have a strong impact in your memories. Even the most mundane thing such as grocery shopping or having a breakfast at your flat leaves an impressionable footprint. When you leave, it feels as if you just left a lover in that city. You are leaving a part of you.

Maybe you can go back to that city for a holiday, but it won’t be the same. Your friends are leaving the town already after graduation. Suddenly the same scenery will feel different, it kind of feel like you are missing a different place.

Love are expressed in different ways

When you studied abroad you will interact will people who have different background than you. This is the time when you realize that you will see how love are expressed in different way than when you do in your home country. I am not an emotional person to started out with but I realized that a lot of my close friends express it differently than I am.

How they fall in love with a subject, for example. One of my friend will shout out loud how he loves statistics in front of everyone. “I love how you can conceptualize a method and test a theory, therefore you can have a concept on how the world really works!” That kind of passion in which I rarely hear from my hometown peers. We tend to get embarrassed on something we are passionate about and will not want to cause ruckus by stating it in front of everyone.

You can fall deeply in love with your own dreams

People thought that studying in a foreign country would mean that you can go travel every weekend and party all night long. However, studying abroad mostly would mean you would actually study. The hard part of those nights you spend at the library alone and frustrated about your unfinished essays. The thoughts of you being the least intellectual person in the room because you clearly don’t have an original opinion about something. You know, those things. Things that makes you want to give up.

Being abroad could also be being alone because you are physically and emotionally separate from things you have back home. This situation can gives you a clear idea and a bigger perspective on yourself. It is like those weird feelings when you are sleeping and can see your own body? That is the feeling of finding yourself. You see yourself in a different light, you assess your choices. You would realize that “your world is not that small.” The realization that the world is bigger than we thought it was before we went abroad. And you started to believe you can dream bigger too. This makes you focus and you focus on things that matter. You see that boy you have a huge crush on in high school is not that important anymore. You have that bigger dream that you are willing to sacrifice everything to be with. You are willing to stick with the effort and hustle because if you are not doing it you feel like cheating. You fall deeply, and deeply in love with your dreams. And suddenly, you feel invincible.

Author

In between weekend and overcaffeinated days, Najwa writes as a co-contributor of Hello Millennials as a form of sharing platform where she hopes to share her two cents on the brighter side of being a millennial on this day and age. As a proud alumna of The University of Edinburgh and Institut Teknologi Bandung, she has taken interest in international business, emerging markets and technology.

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