I am ready to go abroad. My bags are packed, I’ve picked up British and European currency, and my flight details are finalized.
In four days, I will be flying to Italy to travel for a week before my program begins in London. (For those who are unaware, IES Abroad’s fall Oxford semester begins with a three-week London session, since Oxford does not go back into session until October.) The anxiety regarding all the changes soon to wash over my life currently lies at a gentle simmer, but one that threatens to rise to a boil.
Melodrama aside, I really am a little anxious about what will be different culturally in Europe. I am worried about things like what kind of clothes they wear, what kind of things they say, and whether or not they use the Oxford Comma. I hear that Netflix is different in the UK. What am I going to do at 1 in the morning if they don’t have How I Met Your Mother immediately available to stream? Watch The Office (UK or US edition) instead? (This is the kind of thing that troubles me.)
It’s not really that I am worried about making friends abroad—I’ve honestly never had much trouble in that regard—but rather I think I’m maybe more nervous about having to change major parts of who I am in order to fit in. And while change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it is necessarily a good time in my life to have a #ExistentialCrisis.
I don’t know, I think I’m just freaking out because this summer has gone by so much faster than I expected it to, and this intangible thing has suddenly become real to me out of nowhere. I’m certainly excited to leave, and I know that so many people would love to be in my exact shoes right now, but I think it’s okay for me to be a bit apprehensive, right?
So, as I find myself here in Starbucks, I want everyone else who feels this way pre-departure to know that they’re not alone. (Unless you’re studying abroad in Antarctica, in which case, you might be alone? I’m not really sure that anyone actually lives there, and the people who choose to? I bet they’re great company.)
Anyway, if someone knows the answer to the titular question, it would be much appreciated.
It’s keeping me up at night.
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<p>Scott Abrams is an English Literature major at the University of Rochester and is attending Oxford through IES Abroad Direct Enrollment in the fall semester of 2016. His favorite things include warm woolen mittens and celebrity Twitter feuds. He hopes you won't judge him too harshly.</p>