Okay so before I left to study abroad I was a little terrified. Like I might have had a few mini-freakouts where I questioned why I even thought this was a good idea and how am I even going to survive over there and is it too late to get my money back?? But I’m back from studying abroad now and I survived! Well, I more than survived, I lived my best life every single day!
I look back on the girl who was so scared to study abroad and just think “oh you silly little girl, you have no idea about all the amazing things coming your way”. But my point with this post is to let you know that it’s okay to be scared. I mean you’re going halfway across the world, you probably don’t know anyone, you’re probably not fluent in that countries language (unless it’s English speaking of course), and so many other reasons. Here are my reasons I was scared to study abroad.
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Limited French Skills
Let’s first talk about the fact that I had only taken French for 3 semesters. I couldn’t speak or understand spoken French to save my life and I’m going on a program where my professors and host family are only going to speak French to me?! What am I thinking?!
The Reality: My host mom and host brother both spoke a little English and so did my professors. In the worst case, I would have to pull out google translate. Thankfully, I picked up the language pretty quickly and while I’m still not fluent, I can communicate with people if I have a problem and hold a simple conversation.
I don’t know anyone
I was so worried about not making friends and that I would go through the whole 4 months all by myself. What if no one liked me? Or what if I just had nothing in common with anyone there? What if everyone had their own little friend group and I didn’t? I was legitimately concerned about all of this.
The Reality: When I arrived in Paris, I was in a hotel room with three other girls from my program and we quickly became best friends. Another girl in our program joined our little group and we did practically everything together that semester. I had absolutely nothing to worry about and neither do you. You will meet amazing people there, I promise!
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I’m like really really really far from home
I had lived in the same place for my whole life. When I went off to Texas A&M, I was only 2 hours from home and I had grown up visiting College Station since both of my parents had gone to A&M too. I had never been far from home. While I’ve traveled often, I was always with my family. And now I’m going halfway across the world by myself where I can’t easily or quickly get home?! What am I thinking?!
The Reality: Grenoble quickly became my home and my host family quickly became my family. I never really felt homesick. My family visited me about halfway through my time there which probably helped with not getting homesick. While you are far from home, it’s easy to stay in touch with your friends and family. There were also resources for students who got really homesick while they were there. More likely than not, you will quickly start referring to your house abroad as your home.
Studying abroad can be scary, there’s so many new things and so much unknown. But I promise it will be the best decision you ever made. Take the risk, get on that plane, and live every moment.
Studying abroad soon? What are you most worried about?