I’ve been on board with this study abroad since the ground floor. I’ve always wanted to go abroad, especially since I had never traveled out of the country in any other situation before, and although I’m coherent enough in Japanese to get around Japan, I didn’t think that signing up for a year in a country where I couldn’t speak English and didn’t have a supporting network would be a good idea for my mental well being. Thus this is the perfect gateway to international travel. This is a relatively short trip, this is an English speaking country, and I’m here in a structured capacity with friends I’ve known most of my college life. I think this is a great way to acclimate myself to not being with my core support structure and for me to realize that I can in fact do things without that structure.
Learning that you can stand on your own two feet is important for everyone to learn sometime in their lives. I’m not talking about being able to cook for yourself, do your own laundry, and get a paying job. I’m talking about something that not everyone actually learns: that you can do things by yourself. You can travel by yourself. You can be away from your family, friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends; they will still love you when you get back. You can indeed make new friends in new places. You can rely on yourself. This is something that I feel I’ve definitely learned so far this trip.
For instance, I had never been on a plane before two weeks ago. Not even a small one. I’m terrified of roller coasters, not because I’m scared of heights or even of traveling 60 mph uncovered, but because I’m encased in a metal contraption that could plummet into the lake that the rollercoaster so serenely passes over (at least the ground would be quicker). So when faced with getting on a metal contraption that flies over water for 6 hours, I was understandably nervous. I anticipated that getting up to cruising altitude would be like that initial climb on a rollercoaster. But it didn’t matter. I had to go through this period of discomfiture to get to the good part, so I did it. And it really wasn’t that bad. I was scared but I did it and I am happier for it.
So although I didn’t detail how I physically got to Dundee, I think this is a good representation of how I mentally got here.