As I prepare to leave for Italy on a Faculty-Led trip in two days (two days??!?!?!), the anxiety and anticipation of the trip have truly settled in. This trip will be my first abroad, and it still doesn’t feel like it is here! I am so utterly grateful and shocked still that I can go on this trip and as the first of most in my family to travel across the ocean, this naturally comes with many nerves! Luckily, the travel experience will unfold beautifully regardless of my nerves, but there have definitely been some strategies that have helped to combat the pre-trip jitters. It’s been important for me to read articles about other people’s preparations for going abroad, find physical ways to prepare, and communicate my concerns, all in an attempt to fully prepare me for the journey ahead!

Seeking Solace in Previous Abroad Experiences

One way to subdue first-time travel concerns and remind me of the joy that will come from this experience is by reading other blog posts about study abroad experiences and watching YouTube and TikTok travel vlogs. These articles and videos have been so beneficial to remind me why I long to study abroad in the first place. The nerves will pass but the memories will not! This content increased my anticipation for this trip, and has inspired me to create my own content while I am in Italy! I look forward to documenting as much as possible – to make this life-changing trip something I can show others.

Physical Preparations and Avoiding Last-Minute Packing Panic

One true anxiety leading up to my trip is forgetting something at home. One way to prepare and combat this worry has been creating physical packing lists, with a check box next to each item to perfect the packing experience. I’ve brought the list with me to the store, to make sure each item I need will be available as I begin to pack. I’m choosing to travel with only a carry-on and backpack – for ease of use in the cobblestone streets of Italy. Packing light and smart is a key part of successfully making it work. The lists help to make sure each item is accounted for. I also have been physically rearranging the items for my suitcase, to ensure it can all properly fit. Without the lists, and planning the physical Tetris of carry-on packing, I would feel so lost!

Finding Strength in Vulnerability

The tool that has helped me the most as I gear up for the most exciting and life-changing trip has been talking to friends and family about my emotions leading up to it! I am so pumped to go, and that’s the easy part to share with others. But, talking to my parents and close friends about the jitters and specific worries I have going into the trip has helped me feel tremendously less anxious. I have received great advice just by talking to others! Reflecting on these conversations and personal journal entries serves as a powerful reminder: pushing beyond our comfort zones is not only worthwhile but essential for personal growth. By embracing discomfort, I can lean into my best self and learn more about others. Stepping outside what I know, in every past example, has been more than worth it.

I’m absolutely thrilled about my upcoming time abroad! I’m anticipating the countless opportunities, experiences, and knowledge that this trip will undoubtedly bring me – and that anticipation will guide me through my travels until I am finally sitting in front of a plate of pasta and sighing about how lucky I am.