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My Biggest Travel Regret? Not Studying Abroad


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Lorene Velez



Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you look back and realize you missed out on an incredible opportunity? Well, that’s exactly how I feel when it comes to studying abroad. Throughout my college years, I had the chance to embark on an unforgettable adventure, immerse myself in new cultures, and broaden my horizons. However, for various reasons, I let the opportunity slip through my fingers, and it’s a decision I deeply regret.


As a student, studying abroad opens up a world of possibilities. It allows you to escape the confines of the classroom and learn valuable lessons that extend far beyond textbooks and lectures. The chance to live in a different country, to navigate unfamiliar streets, and to interact with people from diverse backgrounds is an invaluable experience that can shape your perspective on life.


In this article, I want to share my personal journey of why I didn’t study abroad, the countless benefits I missed out on, the places I wish I had explored, and the lessons I’ve learned from this regret. Whether you’re a current student considering studying abroad or someone reflecting on missed opportunities, I hope my story serves as a reminder to seize every chance for growth and discovery.


Why I Didn’t Study Abroad

Reflecting on my college years, there were several factors that contributed to my decision not to study abroad. Firstly, financial constraints played a significant role. The cost of tuition, accommodation, travel expenses, and daily living in another country seemed overwhelming at the time. I was worried about the financial burden it would place on my family and myself, as well as the potential impact on my long-term financial stability.


Additionally, academic considerations played a part in my decision. I was focused on completing my degree requirements within a specific timeline, and I believed that studying abroad would delay my graduation. I was concerned about falling behind in my coursework and missing out on opportunities for internships or research projects.


Moreover, there were personal obligations and commitments that made it difficult for me to consider studying abroad. Family responsibilities, part-time jobs, and involvement in extracurricular activities left little room for me to take a semester or year away from home. I felt a sense of duty and obligation to fulfill these responsibilities, prioritizing them over the potential adventure and growth that studying abroad could offer.


Lastly, there was a fear of the unknown that held me back. Leaving behind the familiar and venturing into a foreign country with a different language and culture seemed daunting. I was afraid of feeling homesick, struggling to adapt to a new environment, and being far away from my support system. The fear of stepping out of my comfort zone and facing challenges head-on was a significant barrier to pursuing a study abroad experience.


While these reasons seemed valid at the time, looking back, I realize that they were more based on fears and concerns about the unknown. I underestimated the potential benefits and personal growth that studying abroad could have provided.


The Benefits of Studying Abroad

Studying abroad offers a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond the academic realm. It is an opportunity for personal growth, cultural immersion, and expanding one’s global perspective. Here are some of the key benefits that I missed out on:

  • Cultural immersion: Studying abroad allows you to fully immerse yourself in a different culture. You have the chance to experience the daily life, traditions, and customs of the host country firsthand. By interacting with locals, trying new foods, and participating in cultural events, you gain a deep appreciation for diversity and develop cross-cultural communication skills.
  • Language acquisition: Being in a foreign country provides an ideal environment for language learning. You have the opportunity to practice the local language on a daily basis, improving your fluency and confidence. Language skills are not only valuable for communication but also enhance your resume and open doors to future career opportunities.
  • Global networks: Studying abroad allows you to build connections and expand your global network. You’ll have the chance to meet fellow students from different countries and backgrounds, forming lifelong friendships and professional relationships. These connections can provide a valuable support system, as well as potential career opportunities and collaborations in the future.
  • Personal development: Living in a foreign country challenges you to step outside of your comfort zone and become more independent. You learn to navigate unfamiliar surroundings, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. This fosters resilience, self-confidence, and a greater sense of self-awareness.
  • Broadened perspective: Studying abroad exposes you to different perspectives and ways of thinking. You gain a deeper understanding of global issues, cultural differences, and societal norms. This broadened perspective enhances your critical thinking skills and fosters a more open-minded approach to the world.

These benefits not only enrich your personal life but also have a positive impact on your academic and professional pursuits. Employers value the skills and experiences gained through studying abroad, such as adaptability, intercultural competence, and a global mindset.


Looking back, I realize that studying abroad would have provided me with a unique opportunity for personal growth, cultural exploration, and the development of invaluable skills. It’s a regret I continue to carry, but it serves as a reminder for others to seize every chance to study abroad and embrace the transformational journey it offers.


The Places I Wish I Had Studied Abroad In

When I think about the missed opportunity to study abroad, my mind immediately wanders to the incredible destinations that I could have explored. Here are some of the places I dreamt of experiencing and wish I had studied abroad in:

  1. Paris, France: Known as the “City of Love” and renowned for its rich history, art, and cuisine, Paris has always held a special allure for me. Studying abroad in this vibrant city would have allowed me to immerse myself in its artistic vibe, visit world-famous museums, stroll along the Seine River, and indulge in delectable pastries.
  2. Tokyo, Japan: As a lover of Japanese culture, anime, and sushi, studying abroad in Tokyo would have been a dream come true. Exploring the bustling streets of Shibuya, visiting ancient temples, and experiencing the unique blend of tradition and modernity would have been an unforgettable adventure.
  3. Barcelona, Spain: The vibrant energy, stunning architecture, and sunny beaches of Barcelona have always intrigued me. Studying abroad in this cosmopolitan city would have allowed me to soak up the vibrant Catalan culture, savor tapas in local markets, and witness the breathtaking works of Antoni Gaudí.
  4. Sydney, Australia: With its iconic landmarks, beautiful coastline, and laid-back atmosphere, Sydney has always been on my travel bucket list. Studying abroad in this multicultural city would have meant exploring the stunning beaches, hiking in the nearby Blue Mountains, and getting to know the unique Australian way of life.
  5. Cape Town, South Africa: The natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage make Cape Town a destination that I have longed to visit. Studying abroad in this vibrant city would have provided opportunities to go on safari, hike up Table Mountain, and learn about the complex history of South Africa.

These are just a few examples of the remarkable places that I wish I had studied abroad in. Each destination offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that would have enriched my educational experience and expanded my worldview.


While I may not have had the chance to study abroad in these specific locations, I still hold onto the hope of visiting them someday, using my regret as motivation to explore the world and embrace new opportunities for cultural immersion.


The Reasons I Regret Not Studying Abroad

Looking back on my college years, I can’t help but feel a sense of regret and missed opportunity for not studying abroad. Here are the key reasons why I have this lingering regret:

  1. Missed cultural immersion: By not studying abroad, I missed out on the chance to fully immerse myself in a different culture. I regret not being able to experience firsthand the traditions, customs, and daily life of another country. Cultural immersion is a transformative experience that can’t be replicated in a classroom setting.
  2. Limited language acquisition: Studying abroad provides an ideal environment for language learning. I regret not taking advantage of the opportunity to improve my language skills by practicing with native speakers on a daily basis. Language proficiency opens doors to new connections, job opportunities, and a deeper understanding of different cultures.
  3. Restricted global networks: Studying abroad offers the chance to build connections and expand one’s global network. By not studying abroad, I missed out on the opportunity to form friendships and professional relationships with students from around the world. These connections can be invaluable in terms of personal growth, future career opportunities, and cultural exchange.
  4. Lack of personal growth: Studying abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone and fosters personal development. I regret not taking on the challenges and opportunities that studying abroad presents, such as navigating unfamiliar surroundings, adapting to new cultures, and becoming more independent. These experiences are crucial for developing resilience, self-confidence, and a broader perspective of the world.
  5. Narrowed perspective: By not studying abroad, I missed out on the chance to broaden my perspective. Interacting with people from different backgrounds and experiencing different ways of life can challenge your preconceived notions, expand your understanding of global issues, and foster empathy towards others. I regret not having those experiences to shape my worldview.

These reasons for regret remind me of the incredible opportunities for personal and academic growth that studying abroad offers. While I can’t change my past decisions, I can use this regret as a catalyst for seeking out new opportunities for cultural immersion, language learning, and global connections in the future.


Overcoming the Regrets and Moving Forward

While the regret of not studying abroad may still linger, I’ve come to realize that dwelling on the past won’t change the choices I made. Instead, I choose to focus on how I can make the most of my current situation and embrace new opportunities for growth and exploration.


Here are some ways I’ve found to overcome my regrets and move forward:

  1. Embrace local cultural experiences: Just because I didn’t study abroad doesn’t mean I can’t still experience different cultures. I make an effort to seek out cultural events, try international cuisines, and connect with people from diverse backgrounds in my own community. By immersing myself in local cultural experiences, I can still broaden my perspective and appreciate the richness of different cultures.
  2. Travel whenever possible: Although I didn’t have the chance to study abroad, I can still make travel a priority in my life. I plan trips to foreign destinations, both near and far, to satisfy my wanderlust and explore new places. Traveling allows me to learn about different cultures, meet new people, and gain valuable insights that I may have missed out on by not studying abroad.
  3. Learn a new language: Even without the immersive experience of studying abroad, I can still learn a new language. I take language classes, use language learning apps, and practice speaking with native speakers whenever possible. Learning a new language not only opens up new opportunities for communication but also deepens my appreciation for different cultures.
  4. Embrace a global mindset: Rather than dwelling on missed opportunities, I cultivate a global mindset in my everyday life. I stay informed about international news, engage with global issues, and seek out diverse perspectives. By deliberately fostering a global mindset, I can continue to broaden my understanding of the world and contribute to a more inclusive and connected society.
  5. Seize future opportunities: Although I may have missed the opportunity to study abroad during my college years, I remind myself that life is full of opportunities for growth and exploration. I actively seek out other chances to travel, study, work, or volunteer internationally. By staying open to new experiences, I can still make a positive impact, build global connections, and continue my personal and academic growth.

By actively pursuing these strategies and embracing new opportunities, I find that I can channel my regrets into motivation for personal and academic development. Although I can’t change the past, I can shape my present and future by seeking out new experiences, connecting with diverse cultures, and embracing the transformative power of international exploration.



Reflecting on my decision not to study abroad, I can’t help but feel a sense of regret for the missed opportunities, the personal growth, and the cultural exploration that could have been. However, I’ve learned that dwelling on the past won’t change the choices I made. Instead, I choose to focus on the present and future, seeking out new opportunities for growth, cultural immersion, and global connections.


Studying abroad offers a wealth of benefits, from cultural immersion to language acquisition, personal development to broadening one’s perspective. While I may have missed out on these experiences during my college years, I am determined to make the most of my current situation. I embrace local cultural experiences, travel whenever possible, and continue to learn new languages. By nurturing a global mindset and seizing future opportunities, I am committed to continuing my personal and academic development.


Regret can serve as a powerful motivator to seek out new experiences, connect with diverse cultures, and embrace the transformative power of international exploration. It’s a constant reminder that life is full of opportunities for growth, regardless of previous choices. By channeling my regrets into forward momentum, I believe I can still make a positive impact, build global connections, and contribute to a more interconnected and inclusive world.


So, to all the students out there contemplating whether or not to study abroad, seize the opportunity. Embrace the chance to immerse yourself in a different culture, learn a new language, and broaden your perspectives. Embrace the transformative power of studying abroad, and don’t let regret be the reason you miss out on a life-changing experience. After all, as they say, it’s better to have tried and regretted than to regret never trying at all.