By Bruna Smith

I had a great job in Brazil. I worked in the field I am passionate about and was mentored by leaders who constantly made me evolve at my tasks. The company’s environment and my awesome team were also a huge plus.

I guess this is the famous “comfort zone” people always talk about. So, what brought me to San Francisco?

After more than six years working for the same organization, I felt it was time to try something different and experience new challenges in order to become a better professional. Therefore, I decided to turn my life goal of studying abroad into reality after coming across the Professional Communication Master’s Program at USF. I won’t say it was an easy decision though. The tricky thing about change is that you can expect for the best, but you’ll never know the outcome unless you try. I took the risk. And at this moment I can already tell it was the best choice I’ve made. Below are some of the reasons:

1) You learn something new every single day. It can be a word, a local behavior, a product, a place, a recipe, an app. I’ve even learned new aspects of my own personality.

2) You come out of your bubble. Meeting people from all around the world and engaging with other cultures is really exciting and changes your values forever.

3) You learn how to deal with frustration and how to overcome your greatest fears. Living abroad isn’t as glamorous as it may seem. Actually, it isn’t glamorous at all. Leaving family, friends and your country behind and starting all over from scratch is challenging, but learning how to deal with these issues just makes you stronger.

4) You gain more confidence. Many people don’t recognize their own potential. When you challenge yourself with something new and succeed, you’re able to achieve this mental stage of self-awareness.

5) You understand the true power of building strong relationships. Talking to strangers can be really awkward. However, when you live somewhere you barely know someone it is extremely important to build relationships, even with those you weren’t expecting. Your new friends become family, and “strangers” allow you to expand your ideas and thoughts.

So, if you always had this dream of living abroad, give it a try! I’m 99.9% sure you won’t regret it. And if you are an international student, share your thoughts with us about your experience

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