So here I sit, knee deep in stray clothes and schoolbooks, and everything begins to settle in. Not an “I’m 100% ready for this” type of settled in, but a “what the heck did I just get myself into” kind of thing. My adrenaline is spiking as I make final decisions on what to take across the world. Is it weird if I still want to bring my blankie? How many pairs of jeans do I pack? Why do all of my socks not have matches?
Why have I never noticed this before?!
So many socks, so little matches...
Every move is a jumbled ball of nerves that commingle with excitement. While I’ve traveled before, this kind of journey is something I’ve never considered doing. My abroad track list consists of one day in Canada.
No matter how long I sang O Canada, it didn’t amount to the six weeks across the Atlantic Ocean that I’ll be living in just a couple of days. Maybe Canada would have let me stay a little longer if I could actually sing. My inability to keep a tune though isn’t what makes my heart rate increase. It’s also not the fact that I’m fighting to close my suitcase and keep it closed. It’s that I finally worked up the courage to take a risk and feel something besides “comfortable.”
If you asked me if I would have been studying abroad a year ago, I would have told you I didn’t plan on my feet leaving U.S. soil anytime soon. I was the type of person who was comfortable in a blanket burrito watching Supernatural for the third time and crying over the consistent death of either Sam or Dean every season. While that girl is still there, college changed me.
And it was definitely for the better.
I haven’t even stepped on the plane yet and I can feel a different culture changing me. Maybe it’s that travel bug my mom said I was going to get. I hate being sick, but this might be a cold I’m willing to catch. This is actually a germ that I’d be happily willing to spread. This is a plague that needs to overtake the world. Watch out, everyone. In-flew-enza is on its way.
In all seriousness, take a good look at yourself and ask how far you’re willing to go. How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to travel before you reach impossible anxiety levels? If you aren’t at a place where you feel you can travel abroad, just let college age you a bit more. I was like you, unable to travel anywhere for too long, but my three years so far at the University of Iowa was a definite factor in my new risk-taking abilities.
So as a newcomer to the world-traveling club, I’m sitting in the same boat as a lot of you are. I can’t contemplate what I’m going to discover when putting myself into uncomfortable situations. This is a journey that we can take together. I’ll do all the scary-at-first-but-actually-really-cool activities and you can read about them. Maybe my crazy experiences will begin the metamorphic process of changing you into the most beautiful traveling butterfly of them all.
Wish me luck, my friends, and I hope you’ll come along with me on my journey into the wilds of Dublin.
*Savannah Saunders is an English and communications major at the University of Iowa. A native of Kildeer, IL, she will be spending her summer in Dublin, Ireland on the Irish Writing Program.
Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.