Landing in Ireland.
Before I left for FYSAE, this quote pushed me past my fears of living in another country during my first semester of college. It has encouraged me to overcome many obstacles: leaving friends and family behind, boarding a plane, traveling with strangers, and going on unexpected adventures.
Most people that study abroad want to see as many places as possible. I am one of those people. However, it can be scary to actually take the plunge and venture out alone. Booking flights, trains, and places to stay is overwhelming when you’re also accounting your safety (and wallet). It was all too easy for me to stay on campus, my comfort zone abroad. But I was was betraying my reason for studying abroad.
Despite the “what ifs,” I am pushing forward and accomplishing what I set out to do. In a few days, I will be flying to Ireland. It is a puddle jump from the rest of the U.K. and seems like a good start for venturing beyond what I now call home. This small step is the first of many.
Since I was a young girl, I’ve dreamed of visiting the places I saw in movies. Now, I’m planning a weeklong trip to Italy, Spain, and Portugal, and it’s simultaneously one of the scariest and most exciting adventures for me. The language barrier may be hard, and the travel distance is longer than to Ireland, but the beauty and diversity of these countries intrigues me so much that it surpasses my travel jitters.
The amazing individuals I’ve met abroad have helped me overcome these nerves. Yes, I miss my friends and family— I will throughout my trip— but I’ve connected with students who share similar interests, struggles, and experiences. We’re working as a team in other countries, which has been as rewarding as the adventures themselves.
I’m sure many people who travel feel similar emotions when it comes to planning a trip. But I’m starting to realize that the unnerving moments lead to the most vivid memories. Taking leaps helps us to grow while studying abroad. I’m not sure what that “growth” means yet, but I can’t wait to reflect on the significance of these experiences when I get home.