On September 6th, or next Friday, I will finally be leaving the States for Scotland in what will be the most exciting part of my last year of college. I am beyond excited to go on this trip, but it’s almost a bittersweet feeling in a few ways.Even though I had wanted to study abroad for a while, I had resolved to work towards it last fall when I had found out that I would be able to do this. I had plenty of ideas of where I would have loved to go, but I was limited to what we could afford and by what had psychology courses (I guess I didn’t need to, but I didn’t want to neglect my major while I was there). Even though my semester abroad would have been exciting regardless of where I went, many places were eliminated based on minor setbacks.
And of course, there were a lot of other roadblocks that I had faced while applying. My parents were concerned about a lot of things, particularly issues with money and my distance. I know that they are proud of me, but I also know that they will miss me a lot and will constantly think of my well-being. They could have put the brakes on my efforts to apply, but I was allowed to continue, and in the end, I was able to put everything together.
Another huge hurdle that I have had to face was deciding on a new program after my first choice had been discontinued; something that had happened during a larger ordeal: the passing of my grandfather. It was hard to have to start over on where I had wanted to go, and during a time of grieving, no less. However, I know that my grandpa would be proud that I hadn’t given up, and that through hours of weighing my options, asking for advice from friends and family, and spending hours nitpicking every detail on the cities and countries I had narrowed down, I had eventually limited my final choice to two cities, one of which, of course, was Glasgow, and after even more nitpicking, I had decided to spend my fall semester in Scotland.
Of course, even after I had sent my application and everything else in, there was more that I had to do to get ready, mainly keeping my GPA in good standing and finding a way to make money, both for food and to spend abroad. I believe that this trip served as an extra incentive, as I was able to accomplish both goals spectacularly: last spring was the first time I had made the President’s list at McKendree, and I found a great job within my first month of summer break. I also had to fill out plenty of paperwork and organize payment, both of which I stressed out immensely over, but in the end, I was able to overcome them.
Beyond preparations for Scotland, I had also been spending time with friends and family this summer. While it has been difficult to see a few of my friends, I was able to see many of them at least once, and hopefully, I will be able to see a few more before I finally leave. Most of my friends at McKendree are starting classes today, but I will also try to visit them too before I leave. It’ll be slightly difficult because of the amount of work hours that I have this week, but I will make as much of an effort that I can to visit everyone.
In the next few months, there will be a lot of firsts for me: It will be the first time living in a foreign country, living in a city, living far away from family, and traveling to the United Kingdom (as well as many other countries, possibly). It will have been the first time I have been to Europe since I was eight, and the first time I have left the States since I was in fifth grade. I will have to start over making friends, which shouldn’t be hard, but it is daunting regardless.
Considering my personality, it is a huge leap of faith to be studying abroad, but one of the major reasons that I had decided to study abroad was to step out of my comfort zone, and I think throwing myself into a different culture is definitely one of the best ways to do that. I have worries, and I know that my trip won’t likely be all fun and games, but it will definitely be enjoyable. I am thankful that I have great friends and family that have been very supportive of me, and I will miss everyone a lot, but I will make this trip a great experience and come back with plenty of stories to tell.
Due to the length of this post, I will not have a learning section this time. I will definitely have one the next time I post, though!