Friday, December 26, 2014

Thoughts Before Canterbury: 2 Days to Go!

Packing to go to another country makes a mess, both literally and mentally. As I tear apart my room to find every possible trinket that may or may not be useful in my adventures abroad, a plethora of thoughts bombard me (which I'm sure happens to every student traveler). Questions and thoughts range from packing to immigration to new food to weather to how on Earth can I survive in a different country.

1) Why did I even sign up for this? I mean, I'm quite content at my current domestic college, so why must I shake it up and go abroad? There are many answers to this notion: adventure, wanderlust, the desire to see the world, to be culturally mindful. All of these are true. However, I think there is an even bigger factor that is applicable to some oversea-ers as well as myself. I have yet to feel like I've done that one "thing" that makes me develop--and trust--my abilities as an adult. Some people buy a car or take out a loan. I wanted to be immersed in a place so unfamiliar that I had to rely solely on myself. I truly believe it will be the one way that I learn not only how to interact with the world but initiate my independence.

2) Do I really only get to pack four pairs of shoes? I am the kind of person that reads every article and website that gives tips on studying abroad and pack-this-not-that spreadsheets. So when I kept coming across the tips that encourage packing a small amount of footwear, I cringed. I am an eternally heavy packer, which is becoming more and more apparent with each added item to my already cramped suitcase. But what I have to remind myself is that I will be near several stores if needed; I'm not being dropped off in the middle of the wilderness. Also, it's kind of freeing when I realize that I don't need to take absolutely everything. I will be mobile, living out of a suitcase (okay, two and a carry-on). It's a new feeling. Future travelers should take solace in this feeling as well. If I can abandon my favorite pair of red Converse, so can you.

3) What if I did something wrong on the paperwork? The process to Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) has been a little rocky. It's difficult to communicate with people on a different continent with a time difference. It's especially difficult trying to get information through several different people, when regulations are changing and it's the first time a program is being offered. The entire thing is a learning process for everyone. Therefore, I question how prepared I am, whether I have covered all of my bases and done everything necessary for my visa. I think everyone feels unprepared when they are about to embark on such a trip, it is just very unsettling when there is so little time to double-check everything.

4) Wow. It's really happening. Time is ticking and I will soon be 4,355 miles away. It's both stunningly terrifying and invigorating.

I realize nerves and fears about how smoothly the transition will be or if every piece of paper are perfectly normal. To be scared of moving away from family, even temporarily, is a very common experience. I'm excited to get to England and experience a new twist of college life!

Cheerio! -- Jara
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