Only two months left until graduation. Soon we all throw our caps up in the air and proudly pose for pictures whilst sipping champagne. June 27 we won’t only walk out of AMS with a master’s degree but also with a yearbook filled with memories of our adventure in Antwerp. A yearbook doesn’t write itself, so I found myself browsing the internet for some inspiration. After having read one too many poetical quotes, I felt the need to write down my (somewhat philosophical) findings.
Good things don’t come from comfort zones. Chances are high that you’ve heard this statement before. You might have pinned this on Pinterest, used it as a caption for one of your adventurous Instagram posts or even have it tattooed on your ribs.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be done in many ways. You can literally leave your trusted environment by exchanging your home town for a new city, country or even continent. But it doesn’t necessarily involve travel or moving away. It can also equal deciding to do something totally different from what you are used to and choosing a different path.
However, my thoughts and writing are based on the premise that stepping out of your comfort zone implies going abroad. In this blog post I focus on traveling, the desire thereto and the impact thereof. That being said, let’s resume!
For some the quote above may be music to their ears, a motto to live by. Others, on the contrary, might consider it as cliché and cringe worthy. Words like wanderlust or Fernweh might even make their stomach turn. Instead, they dream of a white picket fence and long for the suburban bliss.
Which team you’re in depends on your idea of ‘good’. Dreams, goals and ideas differ. Luckily! I would like to stress that the one team isn’t better than the other, only different. It is misleading shorthand to assume there are only two kinds of people. Those who happen to like some random internet quote and those who don’t. But please bear with me.
I believe the international students at Antwerp Management School serve as an excellent example of people who took a major leap by deciding to study in Antwerp. It takes courage to cross an ocean and wave friends and family goodbye. Very brave guys, really. (Special shout out to some of you who got a job in Europe and thus will spend some more time here. What a daring decision, what an achievement!)
I probably have a somewhat distorted picture of reality since I currently find myself in a very international social circle. Nevertheless, I think millennials attach a lot of importance to traveling. Their souls are restless and their feet are itching. Many of us dream of becoming an expat or doing a traineeship in several countries.
So what thrives these young people to jump into the unknown and travel so far and so often? Is it an urge for the foreign and strange? A fire for every experience? An obsession for freedom? We seem to be fascinated by the unknown and long for a form of escapism. This desire to explore might be fed by an intense curiosity and a (mis)belief that the grass is greener at the other side. Maybe we’re addicted to the heightened state of awareness that comes with traveling, in which we are mindful, receptive, in dimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. We might crave for thrills and a natural high.
Not only millennials love international exposure, so do employers. At present, proof of international experience is almost indispensable on your resume. However, these wandering youngster are often mistaken to be innerly indecisive by society. New nomads, traveling their life away! Aren’t we all supposed to settle down, marry, buy a house and have kids? My reaction to this is very simple: I guess we did make up our mind and made a big decision, namely that we do not want to miss out on all the world has to offer. Easy as that.
Keep exploring, everyone. I’ll meet you along the way.
– Octavia –