My motivation and reasoning for going abroad is quite simple. As a rising senior majoring in chemical engineering, I am required to take a summer term Unit Operations Lab in order to complete my degree. I have always enjoyed traveling and experiencing new things, so when given a chance to take the summer lab in Copenhagen, Denmark or Tuscaloosa, I chose the former. I knew coming in as a freshman that the summer lab was required and began making the necessary financial arrangements. I knew I would need all 8 semesters– fall and spring terms– to finish my degree, so using a semester of scholarship to fund my abroad experience was not an option. Money was the only key factor in my decision, but if you are thinking about going abroad and this is your limiting factor, go! There are endless scholarship opportunities to fund this once in a lifetime experience.
I consider myself a decently well prepared individual, so in preparation for my trip, I have read-up on the region’s customs, history, geography, and public transportation mediums so I have an idea of what to expect. I think the most important items in my suitcase are an electrical adapter, money/passport pouch, a camera, and a map. Over the course of week I made a packing list by occasionally reading blogs for ideas and thinking about things I might need. I know it is best to pack light–especially if you plan to do some backing as I do–but my preparedness just wouldn’t allow me.
When I began planning my trip, I was extremely excited with each new possibility I read about and imagined myself there. Now, in the week leading up to my flight to Europe, it feels almost unreal and hasn’t hit me that I will be there soon, but I expect that to change the moment the wheels touch the Earth on the other side of the Atlantic!
My number one goal is to try something new every day and take advantage of each and every opportunity. I hope this experience broadens my appreciation for foreign cultures and provides me with exciting stories that I can tell for the rest of my days. Particularly, I hope to try all kinds of different foods, make new and interesting friends, and, most importantly, stay out of my comfort zone!