When I shared my letter of separation with my parents, the discussion that followed caught me off guard. After initially telling my mom that we were going to discuss how to have a healthy separation she had one simple response, “Just promise me you won’t do anything stupid.” As I was making my decision to study abroad it was no surprise that my mother was apprehensive about my decision to travel halfway across the world for five months. She was pushing for a more conventional study abroad destination and she always jokes that I chose New Zealand because “I knew that she would never come visit.”
Behind the façade of laughing and joking I always knew that my parents were worried about my study abroad journey. However following our discussion their uneasiness seemed to lessen. They both began to take a step back and let make the necessary preparations on my own. The constant reminders of packing and getting everything ready seemed to subside and they left the most of the responsibilities in my hands.
The quote that I shared with my parents came from Becoming World Wise which stated, “The goal of educational travel is to help us navigate this complex and contradictory world while challenging the limits of our intellectual and intercultural abilities,” (Slimbach, 238). I think that this quote was a great summary of the opportunities that study abroad presents to students. I thought it was important to clarify to my parents that this was not going to be a five month vacation, but rather an opportunity to grow as a person.
I think that I am finally prepared to completely separate and participate fully in the study abroad experience. At first I had been experiencing anxiety and nervousness about my departure, but slowly my apprehension has been turning into excitement. I cannot wait to start my journey and experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. I think if there is one specific thing that will hold me back it will be the fact that I am missing what is going on at school. There seems to be a lot occurring at school this semester and I don’t want to miss out anything, but I know that the events at school will not compare to the adventures I have abroad.
A successful study abroad experience for me will constitute of three main goals. My main goal is to learn more about the culture and people. In order to make my study abroad experience a success I want to learn as much as I can about New Zealand and the Kiwis. The second main goal is to partake in all the activities that I plan on doing. Everything from bungee jumping, hiking, exploring, and canyoning are just a few of the things I plan on doing during my time abroad. The final goal of ensuring my success is partaking in all the activities I did not plan on doing. Participating in the unexpected events is what will make the study abroad experience an adventure. I want to experience everything that New Zealand has to offer and the only way to accomplish that is by making the most of every opportunity.
I will undoubtedly experience challenges while abroad, but I plan on embracing them. I see my study abroad as an adventure and every an adventure consists of challenges, if there’s no challenges it can’t be considered an adventure. My “go with the flow” attitude, love for adventure, and most importantly my open-mindedness will help me embrace the unexpected.
The picture I selected best represents my journey because it represents my experiences so far as well as my ultimate destination. For example, the road to studying abroad was a long one. There was so much ground to cover and so much plain, uninteresting steps to get through. I think that the field and the long road provide an accurate representation of the journey I have experienced so far. Furthermore, the mountains in the background represent my ultimate destination. Literally they represent the mountain ranges that I will visit during my stay in New Zealand, while figuratively they represent the adventures that
lay ahead of me.
Slimbach, Richard (2012-03-12). Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Kindle Locations 244-245). Stylus Publishing. Kindle Edition.