"Everyone is nervous before study abroad."
"You'll be fine, you're just working yourself up."
These were tidbits of advice from friends and loved ones as I prepared to take off for Germany. Despite the reassurance from those around me, all I could think to myself
"Don't freak out. You're only going to a place that you've never been to before and where you don't know the language or know anyone there to help you."
I think it's safe to say that I was a bit nervous. But here I am, a full week later! I made it!
This first week in Freiburg has been a lot of fun. From eating delicious flammkuchen, hiking nine miles, and successfully navigating the labyrinth that is IKEA, it has flown by. In the midst of these adventures, I am beginning to discover a home in Freiburg. Although I got lost the first day, I am now getting the hang of the tram system and learning important lessons like staying OUT of the bike lane. Seriously, they are not afraid to yell at you if you're in their way.
I'm proud of myself (and everyone else who was nervous, but still boarded that plane). We've taken a strange and difficult situation and made it into our own unique first weeks in this wonderful city. It's not easy to pack up your things and take off, knowing you won't see home for four months. But we're here and have survived an entire week. It may not have been easy for all (understandably so), which makes this victory even sweeter.
I believe that during the craziness of study abroad preparation, the gravity of what we as American students are about to do is easily overlooked. We are packing our lives into our suitcases and taking off on an adventure of a lifetime. We may not know the language of where we’re going or have only seen pictures of a country we’re about to make our home. It’s important that we take time to be proud of ourselves for the boldness and bravery it takes to study abroad.
If anyone reading this has had a tough first week, you should be especially proud. Although it may have seemed daunting at the beginning, we have all survived our first week. That is not something that should be overlooked, and what I believe is an important mark on our study abroad timelines.
I am grateful for my first week in Freiburg and for everything this wonderful city has already given me. My goal is to make every week count as much as this one has.
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<p>My name is Sarah and I am studying environmental studies and journalism. Although born and raised in upstate New York, I now go to college in Washington, DC. My perfect day involves eating lots of good food and getting lost on a hike.</p>