I leave in less than 48 hours, and it is all starting to hit me now! The excitement, nervousness, and anticipation are all kicking in. That is why, for my first blog post I decided to discuss why I’m studying abroad, how I’m preparing, my feelings, and my expectations. I have chosen to study abroad in Athens, Greece, and Paris, France, taking an accounting class as part of my degree requirements. I chose to study abroad because I wanted to challenge myself academically, personally, and professionally. Additionally, I wanted to experience different cultures, meet new people, and gain a global perspective on accounting and international reporting standards – that is the class I am taking while studying abroad! I am from the suburbs of Chicago and have never been to Europe, so I am so excited!  To prepare for my study abroad experience, I am physically preparing by getting my travel documents, packing my bags, and making sure I have everything I need for my classes. Mentally, I am preparing by learning about the cultures, customs, and languages of both countries. Emotionally, I am preparing by talking to friends and family, researching the cities I will be living in, and taking time to reflect on my expectations and goals for the experience. In my suitcase, I will carry necessities, such as clothes, toiletries, and electronics, as well as school supplies of course! The intangible items I will carry are an open mind, a sense of adventure, and a desire to learn. As I prepare to study abroad, a range of thoughts and feelings are going through my head. I am thinking about my family and friends and how much I will miss them, but I am also excited to explore new places and meet new people. I am extremely close with my family, so I am very nervous about leaving them. I come from a family of 6 and we are all so close! (I have included a family photo in this post). However, I know how excited they are for me. Overall, I am feeling a mix of excitement, anxiety, and nervousness. To deal with these emotions, I am staying organized, reaching out to my support network, and reminding myself of why I chose to study abroad. My study abroad experience has several goals and expectations. Firstly, I hope to gain a global perspective on accounting and learn how accounting is practiced in different parts of the world. Secondly, I want to improve my language skills by immersing myself in the cultures and languages of both Greece and France. Thirdly, I want to challenge myself academically by taking a rigorous accounting class while adapting to a new academic environment. Lastly, I hope to see and experience the unique cultural attractions in Athens and Paris, such as the Acropolis, the Louvre, and the Eiffel Tower. As I prepare for my study abroad experience, I am keeping an open mind and focusing on my goals and expectations. I am looking forward to the personal and academic growth that will come with this experience and the memories that will last a lifetime.