Going, Going, Gone

Dear Odyssey readers,

My name is Ana Maria Echeverry, I am a Hispanic-American college student that has been living at home her whole life. This semester, however, I decided that enough was enough. I was uninspired, permanently bored, and at only 21 I had trapped myself in a routine life. My sense of adventure had come down to taking a different route home from work or school, maybe stopping on the way to grab some ice cream, but even that was a bit too exciting. Though I had recently started my own company and I had landed the perfect internship, I decided that I needed to start coloring outside of the lines.

I began to search for study abroad opportunities in Spring of 2016. I spoke about the idea with my friends and family, and though they loved the idea and supported my wishes I was too afraid to apply. Another semester came to its end and with it all my motivation. I no longer felt challenged, as if my inner light was growing dimmer from lack of, well, je ne sais quoi. Something was missing and that missing piece held the secret to my personal progress.

In Fall of 2016, I took the little courage and motivation I had to begin one of the best journies I have ever taken. After months of research, paperwork, e-mails, and frustration I finally found a program that suited my academic requirements and had the potential to quench my thirst for adventure. This is how I ended up in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Now, since I am not a snooty know it all, and because I get this question more often than you think, Denmark is one of the nordic nations in Europe. Geographically, you can find it above Germany, below Norway and Sweden. Denmark is a nation known for its Viking history, Hans Christian Anderson stories, Hamlet's castle, being the number one happiest country on Earth (a title soon to be claimed by Norway), and the second largest consumer in anti-depressants. Woo! This country is also known for a thriving economy, super high taxes, free college and healthcare, and terrible weather. Let's just say, it pretty different from living in Georgia. Though the changes terrified me, this is what I was looking for. A drastic change that would shift my life, broaden my perspective, and force me out of the routine.

I distinctively remember being at the airport, keeping my cool, when my dad turned to me and said, "We are very proud of you. You just have to get there and be brave." Let's just say I lost my cool. For the first time in the four-month application and preparation process, I realized that I was about to leave everything I know behind and start a new life on my own for five months. I gathered myself before returning to the table where my mom was seated, I could not have her knowing that I was crying, that would have been disastrous. I got through security, waved goodbye one last time, and though I was shaking I knew it was too late to turn back.

So here we are, two months later, in Denmark. Let's just say, the adventure is nowhere near over. Stay tuned to meet my housemates and hear about my weekly meltdowns :)

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