I have been anticipating my study abroad trip for quite a while now and the day has finally come for me to pack and prepare to fly overseas. Not only is this going to be my first time abroad, but also my first time traveling alone. These factors have caused me to have a vast variety of different emotions regarding the trip: excitement, anxiety, anticipation. I have traveled to many places domestically and have always loved traveling but traveling abroad has always been a dream of mine so to finally have this come to fruition is almost unbelievable. I think back to the time when I was just overlooking different study abroad programs, working the numbers to see how to afford them, all the while figuring out how to sell this idea to my parents. To see that now the flight is booked, bags are being packed, and plans are made, I feel as though that is an accomplishment in itself.
I have always been a neurotic over-planner, someone who ties up loose ends before they are made, so I can’t help but feel that any problems or unforeseen issues would have already pinged on my radar and been dealt with, which gives me some peace of mind. I am lucky to be in a position with my program where I am able to get there a day before my program actually starts to allow me to better adjust to the new place, adjust my sleep cycle, as well as have time to find out if there was anything I had forgotten to bring before my program kicks into gear. Knowing my nature though, I know I won’t feel totally prepared until I am buckled into my plane and in a position where it’s too late to even bother stressing myself out.
I am also very lucky to be on a program where a lot of the itinerary has been pre-planned by our professor so the actual planning once over there will be slim to none, outside of classwork and any activities I may want to do outside of the many our professor has planned. This made going on a month-long trip to Europe far more feasible and far less stressful because the most stressful and important aspects of the trip had been laid out for me. I have scoured every inch of every paper that had been sent out by our professor and despite my sometimes issue-oriented mind, I have not found anything to make me second guess any aspect of this program and trip.
Ultimately, the most concerning aspect of this entire process has been flight and travel anxiety but everything else has seemed to fall into place which only serves to confirm that this is something good for me to do. I am most excited for the midway point in the trip where I have, hopefully, become fairly well acquainted with the area, people, and culture and at a point where I am thriving rather than still adjusting. I have always had a dream to go to Europe, and further London and Paris which happen to be two stops on my program, so being able to go there for a month and study topics I am interested in and passionate about is all I could have asked for and I am just ready for the trip to begin. And although I still haven’t left, my mom is already saying she is ready for me to be back.