… Is how I’m feeling right now. I’ve been planning on studying abroad since I was in high school, and more seriously since last November. Now I leave in January. And I’m nervous.
There are a lot of reasons to be wary of traveling overseas right now. It seems as though all we ever see on the news is coverage of terror attacks and unrest in foreign countries. The logical part of me knows that those threats are viewed through a magnifying glass from the U.S. But that doesn’t stop me from clicking on articles of which the headline reads “why it’s unsafe to travel internationally.”
Because of this hesitation that I’m feeling I’ve also noticed myself looking for reasons not to go. I miss my home school, I don’t want to give up a semester of regular college life, I might get lonely, it’ll be extremely expensive. But honestly, I didn’t love my home school all that much when I was there. (Plug for my post about when I wanted to transfer). And they (I) call it “regular college life” for a reason. It’s not that special. Yes it’s a blast and yes I love it but frat parties and sorority functions pale in comparison to red eye flights to Norway and overnight trains to Ireland. I’d rather be surrounded by cute boys with British accents than Seth and Ben from Theta Pi Fratty Chi who think “hey come shotgun this beer with me” is modern romance. Going with somebody would’ve been great, but my social skills are to standard and with enough motivation and determination I can make myself some friends, whatever. And I have money saved up. My bank account will be bone dry by the time I get back, but I’d rather have a story about drinking wine in Rome than however many chick-fil-a meals that equates to.
When I write it all out like I am now (and this really is just a running commentary of what’s going through my head) it seems like a no brainer. I think of the girl I worked with at summer camp who told me she might not go on her Spain semester abroad, and how I thought she was bat shit crazy. I think about the History department head at my home school who fudged a course equivalency for me because “study abroad is so essential to a young persons education.” I think of my sister, and how she still talks about moving back to Italy because in four short months it became her second home. And it’s real obvious what the right answer is.
I also think about how much I will Hate myself (capital H for emphasis) if I don’t go. I’ve created this idealized version of my spring semester if I do skip going abroad and just go back to school, and in my head, it’s great. The frat boy who I’m ~iN LuV WitH~ finally decides to stop fu*%*ng around and realizes I’m better than a 2:00 AM “u up?” text, my classes are interesting and fun, I find the perfect sublease in a reasonably priced studio apartment, and I get to go back to a comfortably predictable environment. But logical me (always there and a bit of a party pooper honestly) knows that this won’t happen. Brad from Alpha Lambda Upsilon Kappa Delta will be happy I’m back, but he isn’t having a revelation anytime soon. I’d probably end up having to room with someone I only vaguely know, class will be fun but stressful, and worst of all, it will be a comfortably predictable environment.
This predictability can so easily be seen through rose colored glasses when the alternative is the great and terrifying unknown. It’s tempting to grow roots somewhere, because it’s safe. But for me, I’ve always thought that predictable is boring and comfort is for my mid-thirties. I’ve always been an independent and adventurous person, and I’m decent at making friends. This should be my wheel-house, I should fear for NOTHING!! But I do!! I fear for a lot of things!! Because this isn’t camping in mountains that are practically in my backyard. This isn’t a spur-of-the-moment three hour road trip to go see a national monument. This is traveling to a country where I’ll know nobody and will likely be lost and confused for the first month I there. It’s scary. But I know, at the end of it, i know I won’t regret going. I quite likely would regret staying. And that’s a risk I’m not willing to take.
(So this all means I should go right?)