Pre-Departure Anxieties

By studying abroad, I faced my fears and boarded a plane all by myself for the first time in my life. For an hour, tears streamed down my face as I contemplated my decision to study abroad. I think most people are excited; they just can’t wait to leave, ready for the adventure that awaits them. While I was enthusiastic, I couldn’t help feeling like maybe I made the wrong choice. Everything was great in Alabama; my friends and family are there and I am enjoying diving deeper into my major. For the past semester, the stress of pre-departure preparation had me in tears every time I thought about it. I kept thinking to myself about why I was going.

I decided to do an exchange at KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, France, as it would further my goals in studying International Business. I also took French for six years in middle and high school, so I figured my background might prepare me better for France over another country. I used to love studying the language and culture. Preparing for my voyage was harder than expected. Between the visa process and getting everything done for KEDGE administration, I was stressed (and honestly becoming borderline unstable) every time I thought about France. However, once I got here, I was at peace with my decision.

I will admit, I have a tendency to overthink and to play it safe, neither which are great traits to have in my opinion. For the latter reason and to continue my studies in international business, I decided to take the whole semester to study in France.  Luckily, a good trait I have is my ability to adapt to my environment. I am proud of my decision to step out of my comfort zone and study abroad. Already, I have explored the city of Bordeaux on my own, made friends, and taken a trips. After getting over that initial hump, I realized how lucky I am and how special this experience will be. I have enjoyed my time here very much and do not want it to end.

I think that it is important that I share my story of nervousness because I think it is normal for people to go through. I felt like I was alone in my anxiety about going abroad, but I found that other people could relate to me. I definitely think that this experience is worth it. Traveling does not compare to living in another country and truly experiencing the culture and people.

Author: Hanna F

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