I am one such Harlaxton student, and as the departure date for my potential classmates and I approaches, I feel— in one word— overwhelmed. With less than one month before my future classmates and I board our planes, I find myself in a relentless mix of emotions.
I’m anxious about packing, travelling, and getting lost; I’m excited to make new friends, but scared to loss the ones from home. I’m uneasy about budgeting, enthused to try new things, and ready to be immersed in this new culture. More overpowering than any of these, however, is the formidable fear of the unknown— and no matter how many meetings I attend, past participants I pester, or facts I search on the Internet, I know truly being prepared is impossible. And that’s okay. Preparation is part of the nerve-racking, hectic, frantic fun that comes with studying abroad.
Still, there are some things I can do to prepare, like buying an inexpensive laptop adapter (some laptops may also need a converter), and asking my cell phone provider about their international rates (which will likely persuade me to buy an inexpensive phone at Harlaxton, but it never hurts to ask). I’ve called my doctor, and have four months of my prescriptions ready and filled. Also, I plan to research my bank’s international charges and withdraw fees, and give them a list of all the countries I’ll likely be visiting (so they won’t see a foreign purchase and freeze my account). It feels great to get some things accomplished, and the more arrangements I make, the more reassurance and excitement I feel for the upcoming semester.
It’s with this nervous reassurance that I spend my last few weeks at home. It’s a strange sensation— knowing how close, yet still far, departure date is. It’s like standing at the edge of a swimming pool: you’re so ready to jump in, yet equally terrified to push your feet off the ground. But when you’re finally swimming, the water is cool and the sun is warm against your skin— and you laugh, because you can’t believe you were ever afraid to jump.