Study Abroad: Departure Day
The day is here. I am leaving America tonight and traveling half way across the world to Australia for five months. I've spent the past 10 months preparing, stressing out, and freaking out in excitement. It's ironic that Independence Day is the day I decide to venture off in the world. I have never been to Australia and I'm going by myself. If that's not independence, I don't know what is.
It's a weird feeling to know that by the end of today, I won't be back in the U.S. until winter. I mean, today started like any other day: breakfast with my dad. After repacking all of my suitcases and double checking to see if I have everything in order to have a smooth transition from trailer to airplane to dorm room, it's starting to feel finalized. My emotions have been frayed from the very beginning of this week; I'm nervous and sad to travel to an unknown world and create more miles between my loved ones and I, but also excited and happy to experience a whole new world and make incredible memories and lifelong friends. I have had amazing support from my family and close friends, all of them urging me on to TAKE THE PLUNGE and take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For that, I am forever grateful to know that people love me and that they genuinely wish for me to grow and evolve.
I never knew that one day I'd be able to study abroad in the country I've romanticized for so long. When I realized at the end of my sophomore year of college that I wanted to go on exchange, I thought it was too late. I thought of the worst case scenarios. The classes I need aren't going to be available to me. I don't have enough money. I can't be away from my family for that long. But one day, I woke up and I decided I was just going to go into the Center for International Education and ask if it's possible. It's been a journey since that day, with both ups and downs and massive anticipation. I'm thrilled to finally begin the next chapter of my life.
If you're reading this article and you're also preparing for your departure day, here are a few tips I've picked up by myself and from friends who've gone abroad:
1) Double check your packed bags to make sure that you're bringing everything you need and want and take out those things you realize you may not even use. It's always best to double, even triple check your suitcases. You're taking your whole life for the next five months in just a few bags. Did you bring a good pair tennies? What about a couple pictures of your friends and family?
2) Print out your boarding pass and keep your passport and ID in a travel wallet designed to hold those items closely. Those items are especially invaluable on your departure day.
3) Charge your electronics before you leave and/or bring a back-up battery to charge them when outlets aren't available. You don't want to arrive to a foreign country to realize your phone is dead and you have no idea where you are or where you need to be.
4) Take a deep breath! I've never heard of someone having any regrets about studying abroad. Soon, you'll be all settled in, making new friends and experiencing things you never thought were possible. Say "see you later" to your friends at home and welcome the new world with open arms.