Finding My Independence Abroad

Sydney Boudreau Florence, Italy


June 1, 2023

Studying abroad is often romanticized by the media when it can actually be a scary thing for most people. Leaving your family, traveling alone, needing to make new friends, etc. are all worries I had when coming abroad. 

To give some context, I grew up in a tight-knit family and have a twin brother who I came to rely on more as I grew older - we did everything together. Studying abroad, away from my family and twin, presented an opportunity for me to become more self-sufficient and independent.

Being self-reliant is essential when traveling abroad as you don't have anyone to guide you along the way. It's important to remember that if you're far away from your loved ones, they can only offer their support and won't be able to physically assist you if something goes wrong. In my case, my family is an 8-hour plane ride away. When I first came abroad I didn’t know how this was going to go for me. However, I quickly fell in love with my new life. At first, I was hesitant to do things alone, everything was so new to me, but I soon realized that waiting around for others wasn't going to cut it. The first thing I did alone in Florence was go to a soccer game. None of my friends were interested, but I booked a ticket anyway. To my surprise, I had a fantastic time and even made some new friends! This experience gave me a newfound sense of confidence and independence. In the months that followed, I embarked on three solo trips and enjoyed every moment. I learned that being independent isn't as scary as I thought it would be.

One day while I was on the Ponte Vecchio in between my classes, I called my grandma. I remember telling her all of the exciting things I had coming up. She just said, “Sydney, I’m so proud of you.” I said, “Why?” Not exactly understanding what she meant. “I can tell you feel more comfortable doing things by yourself, and you’ve been so independent since you got to Italy. I’m so happy for you”, she said. That’s when I realized how much I had grown in my time here. I’ve found my independence and I’ve matured a lot as a person. Moral of the story: if you want to do something, just do it. Life is too short to wait on other people.