5 Life-Changing Things I Gained from My Year Abroad + $1000 Giveaway

Studying abroad was the best decision I made in college. My year abroad at Oxford University  taught me so much, and gave me a new perspective on the world and my place in it. It helped me make lifelong friends, gave me wonderful memories, and turned me into the woman I am today. In this post, I’m telling you about five things I gained from my year abroad, and letting you know about an amazing study abroad giveaway hosted by CEA and StudentUniverse for a $1000 travel voucher. Scroll to the end of this post to learn about the giveaway!

By studying abroad for a year, I learned:

The Power of “Yes”

Studying abroad was a risk for me. I would be living in a new city, in a new country, attending a prestigious and difficult university without anyone I knew. But within days of arriving, I realized that saying “yes” to studying abroad was one of the best decisions of my life. That knowledge helped me say “yes” to other life experiences; everything from lectures across the city to late nights with my friends to weekend trips to other countries.

5 Life-Changing Things I Gained from My Year Abroad + Study Abroad GiveawayA photo from a evening in Paris a few years ago.


Studying abroad also taught me to be more independent. In learning to cook for myself (thanks to a charitable friend — hey, Andy!), book my own flights, and travel alone, I grew to make my own choices and live my own life. Which brings me to my next point…

5 Life-Changing Things I Gained from My Year Abroad + Study Abroad GiveawayOne of my favorite photos from my trip to Rome, just before my year abroad began.


Making my own decisions taught me to trust in myself an my abilities. Through trial and error, I learned that I was capable of being my own person and creating a beautiful and rich life away from the home that I knew. I developed a deeper trust in myself, and felt stronger for it.

5 Life-Changing Things I Gained from My Year Abroad + Study Abroad GiveawayOne of the few photos I have from my summer studying abroad in Jerusalem.


Oxford was so different than I had expected. I thought that it would be like my home college on steroids; competitive, intense, and extremely stressful. Instead, I found that the students had a better balance between life and schoolwork. Seeing the way they lived their lives helped me slow down and enjoy life more than I used to. I worked for the love of learning, and not for the grade; I spent time with my friends every day; I tried new restaurants and corners of the city. My life wasn’t all about just one thing; it was a mix of many things, all of which made me happy and helped me grow as a person.

5 Life-Changing Things I Gained from My Year Abroad + Study Abroad GiveawayOne of my favorite shots from a walk through the park in Oxford.


I’ve always been a grateful person, but it’s difficult to express how incredibly grateful I am for my study abroad experience. It taught me so much about myself and the kind of woman I want to be. I was so happy during study abroad that it was hard to come back to my own world. But I know that those experiences and memories will always be a part of me, and for that, I am so grateful.

5 Life-Changing Things I Gained from My Year Abroad + Study Abroad Giveaway

And now, about the giveaway!

To inspire more students to start their own study abroad journeys, CEA Study Abroad and StudentUniverse are teaming up for a $1000 travel voucher giveaway! To enter, head over to this post about the giveaway, which has the entry form. It’s so easy to enter – I completed all 10 possible entries in less than 5 minutes.

Want to learn more about the people throwing together this amazing giveaway? Here’s what you should know!

  • CEA has helped more than 35,000 students create meaningful and memorable study abroad experiences in everywhere from Argentina to South Africa. With programs in 22 cities across 12 countries, they are committed to supporting you in every step of the process, from choosing a location, to enrolling in an accredited university, to finding internships, volunteer work, and learning programs. Learn more here!
  • StudentUniverse exists to help you get the most out of your study abroad experience by offering discounted flights, hotels, and tours for those aged 18 to 25. While most of their deals are for students, many of them are also available to those who are not currently enrolled at a university. Learn more here!

So tell me: Have you studied abroad? What did it teach you? Will you be entering the $1000 travel giveaway?

This post is sponsored by CEA Study Abroad, StudentUniverse, and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Sara Laughed possible!

Sara Laughed

Author: Sara Laughed

I'm Sara, a writer, programmer, and American in the Netherlands. This blog is about my life, discoveries, and mistakes. Follow along, and thank you for stopping by!

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