Tuesday August 16, 2016

Preparing For A Semester Abroad

Well it’s about that time again where the day is filled with packing lists, last minute to-do’s, meeting up with friends you realized you didn’t get to see as much as you wanted and parents asking so many questions you can’t remember if you even packed your toothbrush. As we college students find our summer coming to an end, there are many things we need to do in order to get ready to head back to school.

Usually I am not worried about packing up my car with everything I’ll need for the next semester. However, packing this time is a bit different. As I get ready for this next semester I am given a particular packing list and only two small bags to fit everything in. I guess that’s one of the exciting and scary parts of studying abroad.

One of the pieces of advice a lady who had gone on this study abroad trip before me said to me was, “once you’ve packed everything you think you need, take it all out of the bags and only bring half.” After hearing her say that I knew I was going to have a difficult time packing, not because I need a lot of stuff, just because I’m always unsure of what I need and over packing when I go places.

Making decisions for studying abroad, such as what I’m going to bring for the next 3 months, is turning out to be very difficult. However, I am realizing that this study abroad is going to be a huge life lesson for me if I’m learning and advancing even in the preparation for it. As I mentally get ready to get on a boat for the next three months and sail around the Mediterranean, I realize that I’m about to widen my understanding of life and how others live their lives.

Other than the worrying about what to pack I’m ready to go. I have my ticket to Germany and I have someone who is going to pick me up from the airport to take me to the hotel and then pick me up and take me to the dock where I get on the boat in order to sail off into the sunset and begin this journey called Semester at Sea.

TIP: so here’s a tip for getting ready to go study abroad. Let it go! Let everything go, let all of your comforts, let all of your worries, let all of your insecurities go. You can’t go abroad and bring your whole room, all your comforts and all of your stuff with you. So let it go and let yourself be open to being out of your comfort zone. This will allow you to not only pack in peace, but also get ready with a sense of security of not having security. Allowing your curiosity and adventurous spirit to be your security and guide will allow you to prepare for whatever eye opening experience is going to happen.

So as we college students all get ready to head off to the next semester of our college adventure, we need to keep our minds open. As a college student who is studying abroad for the first time, I open my mind like I do every semester and prepare myself for this new experience. Except this time I’ll be floating on the ocean instead of floating around campus. Good luck to everyone who is getting ready, I pray your semester goes well and you find peace in the preparation of another adventure whether it be a new one or one that you are returning to.

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