I was on my way to LAX when I heard the news about the Queen of England passing away. I was completely stunned and began thinking about how my study-abroad experience in London would be marked by this historic event. The two-and-a-half-hour drive to the airport consisted of me feeling so anxious that I caused a stomachache. I was so nervous and all I could think about was everything that could possibly go wrong. Suddenly, all the work I had put into making my study abroad dream come true didn’t matter—all I wanted to do was go home. I was scared that I wouldn’t make friends, that I would be alone in a completely different country and continent and would be miserable. The closer we go to the airport, the most anxious I became. Saying goodbye to my parents before going through security alone was scary but I knew it was something I had to do. Once I got over that hurdle and found my gate, I felt a little calmer and a lot more excited. The fear was still there but I always tell myself that if something scares me, it’s something worth doing because that means I’m allowing myself opportunities to grow. I’ve wanted to study abroad and travel for so long and I knew that some anxiety and fear are necessary for growth. I also knew that a little anxiety and fear can’t stop me from something I’d worked so hard for. Getting on that plane to London was the bravest thing I’ve done and once I was in my seat, I felt strong and capable enough to handle any situation. The beginning of my study abroad experience was already incredibly shocking, exciting, and overwhelming.
Before leaving for London, I made a list of goals that I wanted to work to accomplish during my time abroad. One of my main goals was to become more independent and make more friends. I want to push myself out of my comfort zones so I can become the person I want to be. I want to prove to myself that I’m capable of taking care of myself and can handle living alone in a different country. Throughout the next three months, I hope to accomplish my goals and hopefully leave London feeling more confident, independent, and secure in myself.
My first week in London has been, to be honest, extremely overwhelming. I haven’t had a lot of time to think—which is probably a good thing because that means I’m keeping myself busy and allowing myself to stay in the present moment instead of stressing about being far away from home, my family, and my friends. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring London on my own and visiting parks, bakeries, art galleries, and more. I really enjoy using the tube and buses to get around the city. I’m meeting so many people who are in the same situation as me who joined this study abroad program alone and are anxious to make friends and connect with others. I wanted to take this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and become the version of myself that I’ve always wanted to be and have learned that it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. I’ve learned that I need to say “yes!” to new experiences and do things I normally wouldn’t do because it results in fun, exciting, and memorable experiences that my future self would be glad I did. I said yes to getting dinner with some classmates and ended up having a great time. I think this study abroad experience will be incredibly transformative for me and will allow me to learn a lot about who I am and who I want to be. Every time I remind myself where I am, I have this strong feeling of pride and anticipation. I didn’t think I would ever make it to London because my anxiety and fear often held me back from going after what I wanted. I’m really excited about the next three months of my life in London!