In one week I head out on my 23-hour journey to Buenos Aires, Argentina. In one week winter will be swapped out for summer, English replaced with Spanish, and the comfortable traded for the unfamiliar.
I have been home in Boston, Massachusetts for a little over two months and have watched school at George Washington start back up without me and many of my friends begin their semesters abroad. I’m in what seems like almost an alternate universe… the limbo between fall semester and my semester abroad. My departure date gets closer and closer every day─as one would expect it to─but I’ve been awaiting it for so long that it seems like it may never actually arrive.
With so much time to anticipate the approaching experience, I’ve pondered every aspect of the upcoming semester: my host family, the food, my classes, my peers. Every email with a subject beginning with “IES Abroad…” feels like another piece of the puzzle that will be my life for the next five months.
About a week ago, I received my housing placement. I’m participating in a homestay, so it consisted of a short description of my family, my address, and their contact information. While virtually walking up and down the streets of my future neighborhood and mapping the route to classes and common tourist destinations eased some of my anticipatory jitters, I still feared a bad housing experience.
Today, however, I received a BIG missing piece of the puzzle… the first email from my host mom. It was written with such enthusiasm and signed with “cariño” which means “with warmest regards” or “affectionately.” This little note of warmth gave me butterflies. Although an email is only a hint at a person’s personality, the short note settled my anxiety.
Aside from mental preparation, the most obvious of pre-departure necessity is packing. I’m both a planner and procrastinator, so while I’ve envisioned each item piling into my suitcase and written countless packing lists and to-do lists… no suitcase has been opened and nothing has actually been packed! I’m assuming I can just throw my most beloved clothing in a big suitcase and hope for the best… although I know that isn’t exactly realistic.
The biggest to-do’s before I leave include:
1. Buy outlet converters
2. Exchange US dollars for pesos (so I do not show up cashless)
3. Call my bank to make sure they do not shut down my credit card
4. Print out all the right documentation
5. Figure out how much of my cosmetic products I need to last me five months (and how I’m supposed to pack them!)
While I’m obviously eager, I think that beginning the packing process makes the whole thing real─ like really real. However, as I count down the days, I’m sure the suitcases with fill up and my excitement for the colorful streets of Buenos Aires will only grow stronger.
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<p>I am a junior at The George Washington University majoring in psychology and organizational sciences with a minor in Spanish. I am passionate about sustainability and over the last three years I have been working to both decrease my own ecological footprint and advocate for sustainable development on campus. I am also an art enthusiast; I love exploring galleries, finding new street art, as well as creating my own photography and multimedia projects.</p>