Lost it? Don't lose it

Stephanie Mertz
January 9, 2020

What’s the worst thing you could lose while traveling abroad? Your cash? Your credit cards? No, how about your passport? Imagine losing all of those things at once. I love to travel and have travelled abroad for years and that has been my worst nightmare. And it happened to me thirty minutes after landing in Nice, France to study abroad.

I have been dreaming of studying abroad for years. I knew I wanted to go to France and Nice seemed like the perfect warm spot. I excitedly booked a short ski trip with a friend three days before the program started and I thought I was set. I became a little nervous as the date to leave became closer, but I knew that was normal. We landed in Nice and it was perfect – my luggage came quickly, and the sun was shining. Until I looked for my wallet.

Somebody had stolen my wallet out of my purse that contained all my money, credit cards, and passport. My worst fear came true. And then what happened next showed me how much you can grow while abroad very quickly. I realized I couldn’t lose my mind and freak out about what happened, but I needed to take concrete steps to solve the problem. Luckily, I had a friend with me who was able to pay for things for me until my parents could send me a new credit card. Then I had to focus on getting a new passport, which was a little more difficult. Working to solve the problem – of getting money and travel documents was a lot more effective than going to panic mode.  I tried not to lose it, after I lost it.

To get a new American passport, you have to go to your country’s embassy or consulates. Since I landed in Nice, Marseille was the closest American consulate that processed passport applications. I made the mistake of just showing to the consulate on a Friday before calling them and then was told I couldn’t be seen until the next Monday. Then I had to go back to Nice for my orientation and then back to Marseille for my appointment and then back to Nice for classes. It was a mess that could have been avoided if I had been more careful in areas that are known for pick pocketing, but sometimes life just happens.

Now that I have faced my worst travel fear and have successfully applied for a new passport, I am ready to begin my great adventure abroad. Despite the mess, I was able to move past it and am now looking forward to all the wonderful things Nice has to offer – beautiful sunsets, amazing museums, and blue skies for miles. I will just make sure to keep a careful eye on my purse.

Stephanie Mertz

<p>I am a midwest girl who is out to explore the world. I have visited 6 continents already and am excited to go to new places during my time abroad! I love to go to new places, try new foods, and immerse myself in different cultures.</p>

2020 Spring
Home University:
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Worthington, OH
International Affairs
Political Science
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