Why You Should Revamp Your Appearance Abroad
When I was in high school I really wanted to cut off all my hair into the ever-so-trendy pixie cut style. But, being the overly self-conscious 17-year-old that many of us are, I didn’t. Flash forward about four years and I find myself in the middle of my semester abroad, surrounded by change and uncertainty.
After what felt like the longest week of my life, which was spent wrestling with my long, stringy, half-blonde locks, I decided it was finally time. Everything around me was changing faster than I was, and I was feeling a little left in the dust, so I took to the internet to do something about it.
I researched a few different hair places near me. It was nice that I lived in a city because there were several places within walking distance of my dorm. I never got an international SIM card either, so I was excited to see that a few of the salons allowed me to set an appointment up over email, instead of spending money on an international call. Then, I really hit the jackpot. All college age students understand the beauty of a student discount, and one salon I stumbled across offered a discount rate of 30% (yes, 30%!) for students.
After sending out an email to the owner of the salon to set up an appointment, I waited anxiously. I wondered if maybe it would be better to go buy a pair of scissors and cut my hair myself (never do this – it won’t end well unless you’re like a magician or something). But, soon enough, I got a reply and set up an appointment for the following weekend.
That next week was the longest week of my life, but eventually Saturday came and I powered through the cold, windy Edinburgh weather to the salon. Up until the moment that my hairdresser started cutting, I knew that I could change my mind (just trim the ends and keep my hair long), but the first sound of the scissors against hair sealed my fate.
Around an hour later I walked out of the salon feeling like a new person. There was no hair touching the back of neck; instead, several strands curled towards my face as a constant reminder that the longest hair on my head was now only a few inches in length. And, to my amazement, I couldn’t stop smiling. As soon as I got back to my room I took about 1,000 pictures of myself (millennials, am I right?) and loved every one of them.
It was the most free-spirited and content I’d felt in a long time. I embraced all the changes in my life and surrounding and changed myself to match. I think that I needed the more extreme changes of the exchange experience to push myself this far and I would encourage others to do the same.
Even if it’s not a pixie cut, do the daring thing you’ve always dreamed of. Always wanted blue hair? Go for it. Been thinking about a tattoo for a while, but you’ve been a little scared? Take the leap (I did this too)! Being abroad in a foreign country is the perfect opportunity and excuse to try something new that you hadn’t dared to do before.
As people, we are always changing in some way. When we’re stuck in the same place for a long time it’s easy to get stuck in a routine, and to be afraid of what a major change might do to that routine. But, when abroad, everything shifts. You’re given the perfect upheaval of your life to allow yourself to grow and change into the sure-footed, independent person you have probably always been inside. Think of yourself as a caterpillar, and your time abroad as your cocoon. It’s your chance to become the beautiful butterfly (or moth, no judgement) that you’ve always wanted to become. So, do it! Chop your hair off, dye it fun colors and spread your wings. It’s time.