I can recall scrolling through Pinterest for hours typing the words “London Summer Fashion” repeatedly
in the search bar trying to ensure I had the right wardrobe to fit in. Thousands of worries plagued by
mind everyday about the unknowns of the unfamiliar country I was about to plant myself in for the next
two months.
I was worried about fitting in, yet I still wanted to stand out in the “right” ways. I never wanted to look
like I was lost but I had no idea where I was going. The anxieties about catching the wrong train, walking
alone at night in an unfamiliar country, not making any friends are more examples of anxieties that ran
circles around my mind. I want you to know that these are all normal thoughts to have, and it is
completely okay to be worried.
Our brains are programmed to protect us so of course we start to worry about all the bad things that
could happen to create a preplanned solution to solve them. I can promise you that you will make a
mistake on the public transportation, you will be “that American tourist,” and you are going to have
days when all you want to do is be home.
However, these moments will never outweigh the incredible memories and people you will meet on
your study abroad trip. Let me also promise you this, you will meet new friends that will make you laugh
about how you got on the wrong train and had to sprint through the underground station because your
theater show starts in five minutes. You will be packed into a tiny train car with your whole American
friend group and be speaking in British accents in front of the locals who will, more than likely, give you
a couple of side eye glances.
On those days when all you want to do is be at your real home and you miss your parents, you will have
friends who are in the exact same situation. Take advantage of the fact that everyone in your program is
feeling the same feelings you are. Please know that it can be hard and exhausting sometimes to live this
new life, but I can guarantee that you will not return to the Unites States as the same person you were
when you left.
A positive mindset is essential to whether your study abroad trip will have you counting down the days
until you get home or already planning another trip with your new-found friends. This trip will be what
you make it, and you can get however much or however little you want out of it. This is the time for you
to reinvent yourself and live out your dreams.
When the pre-takeoff anxieties start to enter your mind, I want you to write down your anxious
thoughts, read them aloud, and think to yourself “Is this realistic?” For each anxious thought you have
combat it with one positive thought and you will start to realize all the amazing things to look forward
to. One thing is for sure, the positives will always outweigh the negatives.