I distinctly remember sitting in my university’s pre-departure presentation, thinking to myself “I highly doubt I’m going to run into any issues abroad, how much of this really applies to me?” Turns out, a lot of it did!
I had never run into issues when traveling before, so imagine my surprise when I ran into just about every obstacle possible! First, one of my flights was delayed for 5 hours, causing me to miss my connecting flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. I ended up having to stay in an airport in Toronto, Canada for 18 hours. I called my family, sobbing, because I was so upset that I wasn’t going to get to Denmark until a whole day later than I expected. I was going to miss the first day of class, and the canal tour around Copenhagen! Being able to hear some familiar voices really helped to calm me down, and I was able to collect myself and prepare for my next flight.
After finally arriving in Denmark, I went to baggage claim and waited. And waited. And waited, until finally I realized my luggage was not here. I went to baggage service, and again, waited. I found out that my suitcase was in Washington, D.C., and wouldn’t be in Denmark for at least two more days.
In these moments, I felt beyond overwhelmed and anxious. This was my first time traveling completely by myself, and I didn’t know what to do to fix these problems. I was also worried about what this said about the rest of my study abroad experience. It hadn’t even been a day and so much had gone wrong, what did that say about the next 6 weeks ahead of me? Part of me was ready to turn around and just go home, I felt defeated before I had even gotten to my apartment in Denmark. However, I climbed in a taxi and gave them the address to my program’s student hub so that I could pick up my keys and inform them of my arrival.
As I rode in the taxi and looked out the window, instantly I could feel my spirits rising. I was so happy to finally be there, to finally start learning about and experience a new culture different than my own. My worry turned to gratitude, my anxiety to excitement. Flash forward to five days later, and I still have those positive feelings. Every day feels like an adventure, as I bike to class on the cobblestone streets, passing the colorful buildings.
Now that I’m here, I can say that I’m thankful I had so many issues getting to Denmark. It was a lesson learned, I’m not invincible, and things can go wrong that aren’t in my power to fix. I can’t control the situation, but I can control my reaction. It also made me even more appreciative of the fact that I’m here. It took a lot of hard work to get here, both through my academics and my experiences traveling, but I have arrived, and spend as much time as possible taking in what the city of Copenhagen has to offer.