It is fun to think about where we will be in a year, 10 years, 30 years, 50 years. Who knows? In only two short weeks, however, I can say for certain that I will be on a plane destined for Spain. At times I think “Let’s get this party started!” Then, a bit later, I think “whoa, I have a list of people I do not know, will stay with a random family’s home that I will share for a few months, will attend a school I am unfamiliar with, and will have to communicate using a language I do not speak. Oh and I have to fit my closet into a 25-inch suitcase. What am I doing?” I would be lying if I said I was not scared, terrified really. But if you ask me in person how I feel, I will just reply that I’m excited. “Excited” is a good blanket term for all the emotions I am feeling right now.
I expect every student that goes abroad has this same feeling of anxiety; it is fear of the unknown. I realize it is not a bad thing. The nervous fear tells me that I have found my limits; I have only gone this far before. I have been abroad before but only with my family. Now I am going on my own and facing a new challenge. I am pushing my boundaries, literally and figuratively. And a year from now, struggling with nostalgia, I will be able to say, “This time last year, I was just getting ready to leave.”
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” – Gail Sheehy