I've always characterized myself as someone pretty ready to take a hop, skip and a jump right out of my comfort zone. I’m always ready for new places and new experiences. But just a few minutes ago, I booked a flight, quite literally, across the globe, and this one's a whole different ball-game. It's more than a 30 hour journey to Australia, the other side of the world where I will be spending five months and an eighth of my precious time at Carolina. Don’t get me wrong, I'm excited as can be. But at the risk of sounding soft, leaving Chapel Hill is somewhat of a bittersweet feeling.
Every time I think of spending a semester abroad I get weird little butterflies, and I can't tell if it's excitement or nervousness or some wicked combination of the two. As soon as I was accepted into my program I began my preparations. I started finding accommodation, getting a Visa and enrolling in classes (for my fellow abroad-yearning UNC students, it's never too early to start your credit request forms!) But I've also found myself preparing in ways you won't find on the study abroad brochure.
I've been coming to terms with the idea of leaving Carolina, even for just a semester. Five months is a long time. It's definitely difficult to leave the place that's become my home and the people who've become my family. On the flip-side, I'm getting in the mindset for new places, new people and new environments. I have the opportunity to experience an entirely different college life, and I think that's pretty incredible.
I have actively and shamelessly searched each corner of my abroad University's website trying to find every bit of preparation information that I can. If there's one thing I've learned from any sort of traveling, there will be something I'm not prepared for--probably the giant Australian spiders--and that's okay. Understanding that is a preparation in itself. Uncertainty is unavoidable, and I intend to make the most of it.
You've heard it before, studying abroad is the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm excited beyond belief, but it will definitely be strange adjusting to a completely new lifestyle. It's like moving to college all over again. The feeling is a weird one to say the least, but it’s a feeling of untapped potential. I still have a couple months to keep preparing, but I really can't wait to start my great adventure down under.