What is preparation? Not exceeding the maximum weight for checked luggage? Perfectly placing undergarments so they don’t come spilling out if my bags rip? Not misplacing my passport? In all truthfulness, you can pack and repack, do fifty push-ups and 10 laps around your bed in order to mentally prep yourself, but never can you ever be entirely ready. And that’s a good thing because it makes the anxiety and waiting all that much more rewarding.
- What will it be like?
Will Reading, England smell like fish and chips? Does everyone drink afternoon tea? Is every cliché I’ve ever heard true? Fact is, I don’t know. And the best thing to do is to wipe my image of England out of my brain the instant I land and let reality set in.
- What if I don’t meet anyone?
Impossible. Traveling to a new school, let alone a new school in a foreign country, is daunting, but replaying the old mantra of ‘just being yourself’ over and over will get so old, you’ll forget you were ever hesitant about creating new friendships to begin with.
- How should I document my experience?
In every way imaginable. Drop your camera in the river the first day? Take mental pictures. Write down the experiences with as much vibrant color as you can. Send post cards to yourself back home, telling yourself how unbelievable one city, in one country can be. Leave video messages on your phone. Hire carrier pigeons to fly in circles in order to deliver the letter you wrote to yourself about the beauty of studying abroad. It doesn’t matter so long as you do it.
By sleeping and eating fried foods copiously and replying that the journey was indescribable to anyone who asks.
Want to read more posts about England? Check out a “Planner’s Guide to Relaxing in England.”