On the Eve of Adventure

Arsema Belai
January 8, 2022

As I am writing this blog, I am less than 24 hours away from flying out of the U.S. to my study abroad location. I’ll be honest, I am feeling a LOT of emotions but mostly an intertwined feeling of enthusiasm and nervousness. Think bittersweet except with anxiety and excitement. Nervcitement? Excitety? It’s difficult to explain.

I am anxious about forgetting to print any super important document, despite the many many times I checked that none were missing. I am anxious about forgetting to pack essential items, scouring any packing list I can find on the internet for last minute necessities. And I’m concerned that I packed too much because everytime I look at my luggage, another item I should or should not pack springs into my mind. The pandemic and being on a plane and in airports for such an extended period of time brings its own worries. Along with the very real possibility of catching COVID in a country I am unfamiliar with and surrounded by people I do not know just yet.

The intrusive thoughts just pop up, leaving me to ponder new possibilities I hadn’t even thought of. My roommates seem wonderful from the texts we’ve shared but what if we don’t get along? What if there’s an issue with my paperwork at customs and I’m trapped at the airport? And that’s before the craziness that is registration and actual university begins to occupy my mind. 

It seems as though everything that could go wrong on this journey has crossed my mind all at once. Which, as you can deduce, is perhaps not a good headspace to be in preceding an international trip.  But see, I am also incredibly excited. 

Excited about meeting roommates, and having a full apartment of four other people who are going through a similar transition. I am so ecstatic to board my flight alongside my close friend from my home university, who is also studying abroad (though with a different program that shall not be named :). In my head, I am constantly planning different activities to participate in while at school, places to visit in Dublin and the Irish countryside. Even small things as mundane as Bank Holidays (an Irish National Holiday where schools close and people get the day off work) are exciting. I’ve never had one of those before, and by the time I return to the U.S. I will have experienced that and so many other new things. Small and big.

I have also found it productive to balance my anxieties and excitement with thankfulness. Being able to study in a foreign country is such an incredible privilege and one not many get to experience. I personally never thought I would study abroad. It just wasn’t something that I ever considered until last spring, when that close friend encouraged me and the pandemic emphasized how quickly things in life change, and the importance of taking chances when they’re available to you.

I am especially thankful that I am writing/filming these blogs. I’ve always been a nostalgic person, and I can’t wait to look back at this post and others months from now and reflect upon how this study abroad experience shaped my understanding of myself and the world. 

So I am a bit of a mess at the moment. A restless, excited mess. But I am looking forward to tomorrow’s travels, and all the new adventures that will arrive with it.

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Arsema Belai

Hi! I'm Arsema, a junior from Minnesota studying at Washington University in St. Louis. Outside of academics, I'm involved in student theatre and various cultural groups. I can't wait to explore Trinity College and Dublin this spring!

2022 Spring
Home University:
Washington University in St. Louis
Saint Paul, MN
Religious Studies
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