My flight for Santiago leaves at 4pm tomorrow. It’s just about here: the day I finally put the “abroad” in study abroad. I’ve been doing plenty of studying of course leading up to the trip. Teaching myself a few Spanish phrases (¿cómo estás?, ¿Dónde está el baño?, tengo hambre) is just the beginning. I’ve also read five books at this point and written two papers. I’d say I’ve got the study part down. I certainly know more about the history of my destination than I did two months ago, and I already feel like I’m growing as a writer, stretching my essay creation muscles for the first time since senior year of high school.
But I’m admittedly a tad nervous for the abroad part. What if I get separated from the group? What if I actually get talked into jumping out of an airplane? How will I wrangle two bags and a backpack? Could my extremely personal essay alienate my peers? For insight into my pre departure mental state, take a look at my packing method. It’s just a conglomeration of “just in cases” and “I may needits” stuffed into a rolling box.
I have no reason to be nervous. I’ve been abroad before. I guess it’s because I have never been out of the country as an adult, fully responsible for my own preparation. I’ve also never been on a trip of this magnitude with strangers.
The spirit of study abroad is adventure, though. In a few days, the strangers will be family, the fears will be gone, and I’ll be have Spanish vocabulary beyond asking for a place to empty my bladder. Despite the anxiety, I’m beyond excited about the opportunity I will have to explore facets of Chile over the next three weeks. Ultimately I’m grateful for the pre-departure jitters. They make the fun had later on the trip all the more poignant by comparison.