When I think about what will be hardest for me to “separate” from while abroad the first thing that comes to mind is my mom. We’re extremely close and I rely on her heavily, especially for emotional support. Quinnipiac is only an hour from my house so if I ever had a really bad day I could just jump in the car and go home to talk with her. It’s going to be a very big adjustment for me not being able to see here at least once every month, or call her right when I need her because of the time difference.
I decided to turn sharing my separation letter with my mom into one last mother daughter outing between the two of us. We went shopping and then I took her out to tea. I felt a little uncomfortable bringing up the topic of separation because it has a negative connotation. The conversation with my mom was actually very insightful and helped us find common ground on a few of the things we weren’t seeing eye to eye about while abroad. We also worked out a plan to talk every week, with an understanding that I might have to postpone a long talk, but I will always let her know I’m doing okay.
In terms of my preparedness for separation I think there will be good days and bad days. I think no matter what, I’ll always miss my family. But, I’m hoping I will be able to prevent that from affecting my study abroad experience as a whole. Something that will make it easier to separate, more than my preparations ever could, is my mom’s supportiveness of me and of my trip. She made it clear that she loves me more than anything and wants me to have the trip of a lifetime as long as I stay safe. Knowing I have her support behind me is important in allowing me to make the necessary separation.
One of my main goals while abroad is to gain a new sense of independence. I think this will be a big factor on calculating how successful the trip is when I look back. I want to become more comfortable with being by myself and learn to make choices on my own. Currently I struggle to make my own decisions and always ask someone, usually my mom, for advice. I hope that being abroad allows me to become more confident with making my own decisions.
An unsuccessful study abroad experience would be one where I didn’t get to experience all of the things that I hope to do. To try to avoid this happening from lack of funds I worked 7 days a week the entire summer to save up for the trip. I also hope that my friends and the friends I hope to make there enjoy going on crazy adventures!
The picture below is one from a family vacation a few years ago. No matter how many times I’ve jumped off that cliff, I always take a few moments to prepare myself. Symbolically, that’s where I feel like I am in my study abroad journey. It’s just about to start and I’m standing at the edge of something that I’ve never done before asking myself if I’m ready to jump. Going abroad is something completely different from everything I know. As Lao Tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”. I’m getting ready to have some faith, step out, and enjoy the rush.