With the young age of 16, I waved goodbye to my family and friends and boarded the plane alone for my very first journey overseas. This journey was not just a holiday trip, but a journey to start a complete new life (well, at least for 10 months) in the United States. After a lot of (sometimes stressful) planning, convincing my parents to let my live over 7,000 km away from them and too much packing, it was time to start my year studying abroad.
Six years ago (wow, I feel old now), I took the opportunity to turn my life around and have an experience that lasts for life. I’m very grateful that I had the chance to study abroad and I would encourage you to do the same, if you have the opportunity.
Have you ever dreamed about living in a different country? Learning the language, the culture and the habits of this country? When you would asked my these questions a few years ago, my answer would be immediately: YES! I don’t know when this thought crossed my mind for the first time, but the idea of studying abroad was stuck in my head. After talking persistently to my parents about my plans and with a bit of luck, my dream became reality. And after a lot of happiness and excitement, fear and nervousness followed. I was overwhelmed!
An Emotional Roller Coaster
Do I really want to leave my beloved home? Do I really want to leave my friends and family? What can I expect overseas? Will I like it? Will I regret my decision? After making the decision to leave, I had doubts about it. There were moments of pure excitement and other of sadness.
So, how do you come to terms with your decisions without being an emotional wreck all the time?
1. Spend time with your loved ones and cherish these moments.
2. Remember that you can connect to them at any time. (Thank God for the Internet!)
3. See the positive in every situation.
4. Know that likely nothing will change at home.
5. Have fun and enjoy your time to the fullest.
Leave and embrace it
Change is always scary, but it doesn’t have to be. It is common that doubts and anxiety will cross your mind, but don’t let them get to you. It is up to you to make your dream come true. If you have the opportunity, then take it! And remember:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream Discover.”
– Mark Twain