When reflecting on International Women’s Day and celebrating all that women have accomplished by being independent, strong-willed, and bold, I think of my experience and my opportunity to go abroad as a young woman. I thank all the women I have seen go abroad before me that gave me the courage to go, and my best friends who encouraged me and supported me to go abroad. And now that I have returned from one of the most amazing experiences of my life, I hope to empower more young women to go abroad!
I went abroad with my best friend at UK and I am so thankful to have had her with me and that she was just as adventurous as I was! We both decided that before going to our program location in Cyprus for the semester, we wanted to leave early and travel on our own. And while some of my family worried about this saying that us two young girls shouldn’t be running around Europe on our own, we knew that we had to take this opportunity while we could! So this past September the two of us set off to Rome for our first stop. This was the first experience either of had had of traveling alone without our parents, so it definitely forced us to be independent as we had to figure out transportation, directions, and lodging all on our own.
Before going to Cyprus, we stopped at Rome, Paris and Munich by ourselves, followed with more independent travel during our semester. Being two young American girls in Europe we definitely got some stares and comments by Italian men made on more than one occasion. But, never did we truly feel unsafe or endangered because of our gender or the typical stereotypes that go along with being a woman. After going abroad I have never felt more empowered and independent. I have conquered a goal of mine that only inspired me more and there are now very few places or adventures that I would say no to!
Going abroad is such a liberating experience that can help you in a multitude of ways. It is always important to be aware of your surroundings and to have proper knowledge of what to do in emergencies, but as women we should never feel as if we aren’t strong enough to travel somewhere, because of our gender. As women we truly can do anything we set our minds to, and going abroad is by far worth the effort!
Macy is a junior studying Accounting and Marketing with an International Business minor at the University of Kentucky. She studied abroad at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus in the fall of 2016.