Making progress with packing.
Making progress with packing.

Getting My Affairs in Order: Preparing for Study Abroad

A few nights ago, I woke up in a panic about hangers.

What was I going to do to hang my clothes, bring hangers in my suitcase or buy some when I got there? This panic quickly passed when I realized that it really wasn’t a big deal and I just decided to buy them when I get there.

So, with Scotland just two weeks away, you can see I am in full-scale panic mode. What suitcase should I begin to stuff all my clothes in? How many pairs of shoes can I bring? Can I schedule a dentist appointment before I leave? Do I have all the necessary paperwork to be able to study abroad? Where is my passport hiding in my room? These questions and more are just some of things that I fret over as each day brings me closer to leaving.

The mounds of paperwork I completed before studying abroad.

The mounds of paperwork I completed before studying abroad.

When I thought of study abroad before, I thought of people with funny accents and glamorous day trips to different cities. I pictured taking classes with plenty of interesting people and seeing castles built hundreds of years ago. I did not picture paperwork and panicked shopping trips and a general feeling of being at a loss with what I need to do. However, this is a much more realistic picture of my life right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to go to Scotland through Arcadia’s First-Year Study Abroad Experience, but no one really thinks about the “before period.” We had tons of meetings about what to pack and what to just buy when you get there, but not only did they not cover hangers but there are also other mundane things that must be done to prepare for a long trip. I have boxes of contacts and other medication lined up and ready to be put in a suitcase. I have told the bank that I will be studying abroad, and I recently got my flu shot.

On top of all the logistics, studying abroad for the first time is scary; I think it’s just beginning to hit me that I will be completely on my own. My parents won’t be able to drop off things that I left at home and suddenly need. If I pack over 50 pounds of luggage in one bag, I have to pay that overage myself. I am going to a country I have never been to before, and I will have to figure everything out on my own. I will be an adult, making my own dinner and taking public transportation all on my own.

All that being said, I am ready to take on the challenge.

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