Study Abroad Butterflies

Ashton Diggs
May 31, 2022

As I take in my last few days in the city where I’ve lived for the better part of my life, I’m filled with an odd mix of feelings. My bags have been sitting open and partially packed for a few weeks, and as they fill up with all of my life essentials and memories, I wonder what I’m forgetting. I’m sure there is something so important that isn’t safely tucked away in my suitcase between my travel hairdryer and my rolled up sweaters.  

I realised yesterday that the thing I forgot to pack was the people I love. I can’t fit my whole family in this suitcase, with our dinner table conversations, movie marathons, and enough laughs to last several lifetimes. There isn’t room to pack my friends at Mizzou and bring them on this adventure. For the first time in my life, as I travel and make memories, my family and friends won’t be there. I’ll get to make my new memories with new friends, and I know I’ll have a hundred stories for when I come home. I almost feel nostalgic, as I’m suddenly realising how fast life is changing. The world is a big place, and I’m suddenly making my place in it and I’m not really sure when that happened. It’s thrilling, knowing that I have this freedom and that my life will soon be forever changed, but it’s also nerve-wracking, as I count down hours to the moment the plane takes off. 

I wonder if I’ll love Sydney and if I’ll have time to see and do everything. I hope I don’t get homesick, but I know I’ll miss my family. I’m nervous for the seventeen hour plane ride and I hope I can sleep on the flight. The trip itself is daunting, but this has also forced me to see how fast my life is changing. The world is suddenly spread at my feet, a feeling that is as terrifying as it is exhilarating. It’s scary, not being able to see my next step clearly. But that’s why I have to do it. I wanted to study abroad because I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to push through fear and doubt because I knew this would undoubtedly be one of the best chapters of my life, even if it feels a little scary.

It’s easy for me to think of reasons to be nervous, but I’ve decided that nerves have no place in this adventure. It’s not hard to imagine that I’ll be nostalgic for the things I love about home, but I’m so excited to be in a new place. It’s natural to be nervous, but I remind myself to laugh at the butterflies because this experience is going to be worth it. I’m going to make mistakes and mess up and I’ll just have to laugh because there’s no other way to respond. I’ll have to laugh because there is too much joy in this experience, too much hope and possibility, to be afraid. I know it will not always be easy, but I know it will be worth it. This is one of the first great adventures of my life, and I can’t wait to make memories and have stories to tell at the dinner table when I come home. 

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Ashton Diggs

<p>Being from a small town in Oklahoma, I've always been eager to travel and see the world. Through IES Abroad, I have had the incredible opportunity to be an intern in Sydney for the summer. Through this, I have been able to develop my dreams into passions. At the University of Missouri, I am studying English and psychology, which encompasses so many of my passions. In my free time, I love to read, write, and cook!</p>

2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Missouri - Columbia
Jenks, Oklahoma
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