3 Feelings I Experienced While Waiting to Study Abroad

Sariah Cheadle is a student at Southwest Minnesota State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Reading, England.

At the time of writing this, I still have 21 days, 14 hours and 46 minutes before I hop on a plane and head to England to study abroad for a semester. I worked as a lifeguard at a pool that closed a few days ago, so suddenly I have about 3 weeks to do… nothing- or almost nothing. I can keep packing and going over and over lists of things to bring and get ready, but that still leaves me a lot of empty time. It is this extra time that has led to experience three particularly strong emotions about getting ready to studying abroad.

1.) Restlessness

I’m so ready to go! It’s frustrating to watch my fellow classmates begin class (classes at my university began a few days ago) while I continue to wait to depart on my program. By the time I leave, my friends will have already have taken (and hopefully passed!) their first test of the semester. Library books will be due by then. My classmates in the theater program will be in the middle of learning a show- songs and lines already memorized. While they start new things and make decisions on what to do this semester, I just wait. What an exciting wait that is, but a restless wait as well!

2.) Frustration with questions

This caught me by surprise at first, as I know all of my classmates’ questions stem from their excitement for me. Yet I can’t help but be bothered when people say things like, “Wait, I thought you were going to be gone this semester?” when they see me on campus. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t willingly shout from the rooftops that I’m leaving in three weeks to study in Reading, England, but when the same questions are asked over and over again by different people, I can’t help but wonder if the universe is questioning my decision to leave all of this behind to study in a different country.

3.) Feeling like I don’t belong where I used to

My favorite place to study on campus.

Knowing that I wouldn’t leave until partway into the semester, I asked my professors on campus if I could attend a couple of classes while I waited. Graciously, they said yes. When I showed up the first day of classes, one of my professors laughingly said, “Why do you have a backpack?” I laughed too, but I just couldn’t not bring it. Old habits die hard, and what if I wanted to take notes? But as I walk through the hallways of my school, I can’t help but feel as if I’m an impostor- someone who is posing as a normal student, but who is in fact not one. I don’t belong here this semester, even among my good friends. This makes my restlessness even greater and the questions more challenging to answer. My desire to leave escalates every day I wait!

Waiting to start a new adventure can always feel like it’s taking forever, and being anxious to go just comes along with that. I’m confident that in the end this wait will only make my experience abroad sweeter.

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

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