Although this is not my first time leaving the United States, the feeling I get days before the flight is still the same as it was the first time I traveled. It is not being completely sure of what to expect, so my mind wanders with all of the possibilities of what life will be like in the new country. In reality, it will be nothing like I expect.
It is being nervous about not being able to communicate with locals no matter how good my language skills might be.
It is wondering what I will be missing out on at home while I am gone and hoping that the trip will be worth the opportunity cost.
It is worrying about being homesick, missing everything and everyone while in a new country.
Every time I travel, I learn something. This time will be no different. The anticipation is wonderful because everything I imagine in my mind’s eye is never how it turns out, and that is the best part. That is how studying abroad molds a person. It is being thrown into a different world for four months to learn about a new way of life. That way, when the trip is over, there will be an entirely new perspective on the world and the life that was left back home.
For me, the anticipation is almost the adult version of Christmas Eve. It is not being able to get a good night’s rest the few nights leading up to the trip because excitement keeps me awake. That magical feeling that I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get, but no matter what it is, it’s going to be amazing. And when it comes down to it, the experience is about the people that I share it with.
Right before the trip there are always hesitations and nerves. But as soon as I get home, I know I’ll wish I could be back.
This post was contributed by Lyndsey Bradley, who is studying abroad with AIFS in San José, Costa Rica.