Sometimes, the scary things in life are the most rewarding. The thought of studying abroad, for example, can seem frightening. Further, actually studying abroad is down right terrifying at times, and traveling alone has the power to turn you into a statue if you let it.
However, making the decision to study abroad, actually following through with it and embarking on travels alone are some of the best decisions that I have ever made — no matter how terrifying they seemed or even were.
“It was, in all truth, the realist experience of my life, in which I felt the most like my self and a part of something bigger.”
I can only liken this feeling to that of running a race. The dread that builds in your stomach beforehand, the anticipation to the start of the race, the thrill you feel during and the happiness once it’s completed.
You just have to get yourself to the starting line, and GO!
Personally, the decision to study abroad was never actually a question. I always knew I wanted to spend a semester abroad, I just didn’t know where, when, or how.
Actually, the hardest thing for me in the study abroad process was determining where I actually wanted to go, and where I could go. The Aztecs Abroad database was super helpful for this and I did a lot of independent research as well. Once I found a program that I was interested in, the fear was gone and was replaced with excitement.
Then, the fear of actually moving across the world set in. Would I like it? Would I make friends? How homesick would I be?
Well, yes, I love it in Verona. I have made so many friends, and I’m actually not much more homesick than I would have been at SDSU.
Further, this past weekend I was able to take my first (and only major) solo trip to the United Kingdom. I was a little nervous, I admit, to travel by myself. I was unsure if I would be able to get around, if I would be able to keep myself safe and unsure if I would enjoy it. But I also knew that it was something I needed to do for my personal growth.
I loved every second of my solo trip and every inch of what I saw of England. I went to Bath, Stonehenge and London, and was shocked actually with how much I enjoyed it. England in general was full of super friendly people and beautiful scenery, and traveling alone gave me a newfound confidence in myself and in my ability to make it alone in the world, to be honest.
I was able to eat alone, converse with strangers and make my way around using public transportation in one of the largest cities in the world. It was, in all truth, the realist experience of my life, in which I felt the most like my self and a part of something bigger.
I truly look forward to more solo traveling, and to using this experience as I move forward through adulthood.
My point of this roundabout story is this: Life is scary, and studying abroad is scary, and traveling is scary. But, scary does not mean bad. You SHOULD be scared. These are experiences out of line with the normality of life. They are new and different and unknown.
I challenge you to face these challenges head on, and take them in full force. You won’t regret it.
Are you ready? Do you feel set? Now, go!
Marcella Anderson is a foods and nutrition major with a minor in interdisciplinary studies through the Weber Honors College. She is studying abroad during fall semester at IUSVE University in Verona, Italy.