Any new experience begins with the unknown. As I prepared for my trip abroad, nervousness plagued what should have been excited preparation. Everybody I talked to told me I would have fun. My parents helped me pack and fellow travelers gave me advice on how to navigate foreign countries. And yet, uncertainty was all I felt. I didn’t know who I would be living with or what the city I was packing for would expect of me. What if I didn’t fit in?
At the airport, I met my first fellow AIFS student as we exited security. She was kind and friendly and seemed just as unsure as I was. By the time we boarded the plane, we had been joined by 4 other AIFS students, all traveling with us. We were all embarking on this journey together.
We landed in London, were picked up at the airport, and were promptly set free to explore the city. What made navigating a foreign city so easy was that every other person in the program was ready and willing to try something new. It felt like freshman year of college, when every person is a friend as soon as you make eye contact. We were all in the same boat of uncertainty, but just by being together we were able to put ourselves at ease. By the end of day one we were all gathered at a pub enjoying each other’s company.
Travel, and study abroad, comes with uncertainty. But by being comfortable with yourself and open to others, you can guarantee yourself a few friends, which will make all the difference.