Letters from Abroad Here Goes Nothing
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Passport? Check. Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Ready to travel 3,984 miles to live with a family that you have never met, in a country you’ve never been before for the next four months? *Insert deer in headlights look*.
As I settled into seat 12A aboard the Delta Airbus bound for Amsterdam, floods of panic and excitement began to wash over me like the waves of the Atlantic that I was about to cross. At one point I swear the gentleman next to me thought that I was going to channel my inner Kristen Wiig and have a total meltdown like her character, Annie, did on her flight to Las Vegas in the movie Bridesmaids. But thankfully for his sake and mine, I instead spent the following seven hours fidgeting, watching bad romantic comedies and eating those surprisingly good airline pretzels.
Once I arrived in Copenhagen, approximately ten hours later, I was guided to the nearby Hilton Hotel where I was given my necessary documents, presented with a short welcome orientation and then told to go wait in the conference room across the hall. I distinctly remember entering the room, sitting down and thinking: “wow this is how puppies at PETCO must feel.” Before my eyes were other DIS students, just as overwhelmed and exhausted looking as myself, anxiously staring at the door, waiting to be picked up by their host families, or as I saw it, waiting to be adopted.
The following moments, hours and days are all now a blur. Between settling into my host family, the world of DIS and learning how to navigate a new city, I was drained, physically and emotionally, but at night I still couldn’t sleep. I would lie there staring at the ceiling, questioning why I decided to take such a risk and leave my comfort zone.
Leading up to my departure, family and friends had assured me that my time abroad would be the best four months of my life and that I would emerge from Denmark, a new woman, ready to tackle any of life’s future challenges. In my opinion, up until recently, I was pretty sure that they were all full of crap. But my experiences over these last few days have come to make me realize that they may have actually been right.
Now, when I lay down to go to sleep, I think about how all the things that I would have never imagined doing have become apart of my everyday routine and it brings a smile to my face. Today, I appreciate and look forward to my hour commute into the city for class, which includes a fifteen-minute bike ride in the crisp Danish morning air. Today, I willingly try foods that I wouldn’t have dared going near beforehand (but a little advice, liver pâté looks like cat food because it is cat food, don’t try it, you’re welcome). And by now I have mastered the art of packing a weekend’s worth of stuff into a backpack because European airlines are cheap for some reason; carry-on luggage is ALWAYS extra.
Most importantly, I have come to embrace my little everyday adventures because as scary or overwhelming as they may seem sometimes, they are what being abroad is all about. So for any sophomore reading this, who is on the fence about going abroad, take my word for it and submit that application. You wont regret it, I promise.