Abroad In One Week
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Abroad In One Week

Thoughts as I go on to my big adventure.

Abroad In One Week

Up until this morning, I was under the impression that I was leaving to go abroad next Thursday. In reality, I had gotten the dates mixed up and I leave on Wednesday, exactly one week from today. If that isn't telling of how ready I am to go abroad, I don't know what is.

In all seriousness, I wanted to write this article to have something to look back on after my abroad experience as a means of understanding my current intentions and expectations, which I'm sure will change throughout the semester.

One week from today, I will be boarding a plane to Vienna all alone, knowing absolutely no one in the program I am participating in. One week from today, I will be leaving my family and friends for the longest period of time I ever have. I will be diving right in to a new culture, a new place, but luckily, a familiar language that I hope will improve as I spend more time across the sea.

This all seems dramatic to express.

The thing is, I don't think I can accurately write about how I feel about going abroad yet because it is still such a glorified idea in my mind.

I've grown up hearing stories of how my mom studied in Germany for two years when she was in college and how my dad regrets not doing so. I have known since I was young that this is something I want to do, so I'd like to say I am prepared to go abroad.

Yet I don't think going abroad is something we can ever truly be "ready" for.

Yes, I've heard stories. But are the stories truly telling of what I personally will go through?

I've heard about culture shock, having language barriers or trouble making friends or immersing oneself fully, or of feeling homesick. Intellectually, I know what to expect. But what I expect now and what I experience when I finally travel over there are two completely different things.

I'm writing this article as reminder to myself, and to others going abroad, that however you process your experience, whatever happens your first few weeks is completely natural.

When it comes down to it, your time abroad is just that: yours. Whatever ups and downs that consists of is uniquely yours, and that's okay.

Friends who have gone abroad have explained how amazing of an experience it is, how they never wanted to come back, how it's life changing. I don't want to say my expectations are high, but I certainly know that this semester I have in Vienna and Germany is one that will stay with me for some time.

If I get there and not everything is amazing right away, I'd like to think I have enough foresight to know that everything I experience is an opportunity to grow.

So, to all my readers going abroad and to myself, I want to urge you to make the most of your time abroad. Yes, you're going to miss home. Yes, you may not understand everything going on around you. Yes, maybe you won't make as close of friends as you expected. That's okay. As an advisor at my university said to me:

"Use your time abroad for you. For discovering yourself. Don't worry about making friends, do your own thing and take in everything there is to see."

I truly believe that when we let go of our high expectations, everything follows.

So when I get over there, I hope I can take a second to breathe and remind myself that despite all the nerves, despite all the distance, despite the new surroundings, everything will fall into place as it should.

Am I nervous about leaving home? A bit worried of what's to come? Of course. But I also know this is a time to grow, to learn more about myself, to immerse myself fully in a culture I love, to truly see the world for the first time, and I can't wait.

Vienna, Marburg, I'm coming for you.

Talk soon,


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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