Wilson: Study abroad takes preparation, patience

Wilson discusses the process of moving to London for the fall semester.

Christasia WilsonA wise man named Saint Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Two years ago at my freshman orientation, I barely listened to anything, but when it came to information about studying abroad, I was all ears. I’m not sure if I was excited to hear about the Study Abroad program because I love to travel or the fact that I would leave everything and everyone I know.

Spring semester of sophomore year is when I made the decision to apply to study in London for the fall semester. The worst part about the whole process was waiting to hear if I was even accepted. A lot of things ran through my mind as the days ticked down to receiving that fateful email. Where was I going to live if I don’t go to London? Would I even have time after junior year, or ever, to go to London for 14 weeks?

Nevertheless, I forgot all my doubts the moment I checked my email in mid-April and saw the email that read, “Congratulations, you have been accepted to study abroad in London this fall!” All I could do was cry because, for once, it seemed like everything was right.

Then, it began to sink in how much this was all going to cost. For months I was so excited about getting into the program that I didn’t fully think of how, or who, would pay the bill. Of course I applied for scholarships, but those aren’t guaranteed. Instead of being a Debbie Downer, I handed over my deposit to secure my spot in the fall. With that small action, I was one step closer to having tea and biscuits.

The process after sending in my deposit has been significantly less stressful, between signing forms and making sure to take the right classes, which finally happened after three trips to my adviser. The hardest part was applying for a visa because one mistake can cause the British Consulate to reject your request to study in London – which is why I probably annoyed the post office with a million questions before sending it in.

With only a few weeks left in the United States, it has not fully hit me yet that I’ll be on a plane going to a country where I don’t know a single person. Deep down, I don’t want it to be a reality. The scariest thing about this whole experience is leaving friends who have been a major part of my life for the past two years. Of course I’ll miss my family, especially calling my mom whenever I need her, but they will always be there. As crazy as it may sound, my biggest fear is that my friends might forget or replace me. They say real friends will always be there no matter where you go, and I know that’s true. I have the type of friends who will Skype and constantly bug me on Twitter while I’m away, but it would be a lie if I said I wasn’t afraid of all the changes that will happen in my absence.

Regardless of the ups and downs, this will be one of the greatest experiences of my life.  Hopefully, I will break out of my shy shell and come back to Temple ready to take over the world. What happens when you take a girl from New York, place her in Philadelphia and then send her off to London for a whole semester? Well, there will be adjustments, hard times and a few tears, but a ton of learning experiences and fun.  Follow me as I try new food, experience nightlife, intern, maybe fall in love, get lost and try to track down Kate Middleton and the new royal baby in London.

Christasia Wilson can be reached at christasia.wilson@temple.edu.

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