I almost didn’t go on my study abroad trip this summer. I applied because I needed more hours for my major and it was a great opportunity, but mostly because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do.
I was grateful when my application was accepted but, I still didn’t feel an overwhelming desire to go. I wanted more than anything to go home and see my family. Homesickness plagued me throughout my first year in college and shipping out right after finals week seemed awful at the time.
Nevertheless, I completed all the steps in preparation. Signed the forms, paid the deposit, got the visa, bought an oversized suitcase, read all the blogs on how to pack for a trip to China, and suddenly I was on a plane.
Ticket and passport in hand I stomped down the jet bridge and thought, “When I get off this plane I won’t be in America.” I bought my plane ticket months in advance. And I chose my seat wisely, the best seat that economy plus would offer, window seat in the bulkhead. Easy to get out without waking up the rest of the row and easy to sleep through water being offered on the hour. Fourteen hours later, I was in Shanghai.
Every day I woke up excited to experience the day. Of course I felt homesick, but I didn’t spend each day wishing I could just go back to sleep. Instead, I changed my mindset entirely and took advantage of the freedom I had to explore my temporary home.
One night, the air was clear and with a sudden surge of energy I got up, knocked on my friend’s hotel room door. “Do you wanna go on a run?” I asked. Ten minutes later we sprinted through the streets of Shanghai.
Four months ago I was laying on my bed thinking, “I just want to go home.” But instead, I left home and went out to experience something new. I can’t imagine not going on the trip now that I’ve gone, seen what I’ve seen, and done the things I did.
Don’t debate whether or not to go to a college far from home. Don’t hesitate to take the job offer thousands of miles away. And always go abroad if you get the chance because everything that I left remained the same when I returned. Home is comfort. Home is normalcy and security, but home isn’t exciting and it won’t let you see the world. Just go.