by Imani Pugh
This post was written in June as a reflection on my feelings toward studying abroad this fall.
As I prepare for my study abroad experience, I have plenty of things to be anxious about. My bill is due soon, and I need to know how much financial aid I’m receiving to know what my actual bill will be. It seems like there are about 50 different forms I have to fill out every week and I get tired of making a bunch of phone calls and sending emails every few days. I haven’t started packing, I haven’t gotten my visa, and I haven’t gotten my vaccinations yet. I already know I’m going to miss my friends from college and home and there is so much uncertainty in choosing to go abroad.
Whenever these negative thoughts enter my head, I think of how much I will gain from this study abroad experience that will make all of this stress worth it. I remind myself of how much this opportunity means to me and how long I’ve dreamt of this experience. Since I was younger, I wondered what it would be like to live in a West African nation that has impacted my life so much. From the history of the people to their present day culture, I’ve always been fascinated by West African history and culture, specifically Ghanaian history and culture. Since my freshman year of college, I’ve been determined to study abroad somewhere in West Africa. I told everyone. My friends, professors, RAs peer mentors, everyone. I went to all of the study abroad events to stay on top of the latest study abroad news and programs that were available to me. Sophomore year came and I was anxious to start the study abroad application process. I spoke to people in the study abroad office well in advance and it was probably annoying, but they were still supportive and responsive to my somewhat unnecessary questions. I just wanted to make sure everything was running smoothly because studying abroad is such a large part of my college experience and I could not let it slip away from me.
Since applying, both the external program I will be studying abroad with and the Temple study abroad office have been nothing but supportive and I am extremely thankful to have these resources available to me. My parents and extended family have also been the most supportive people I could ask for in this process. They could have met my ambition for studying abroad with fear and anxiety about me being so far away from them for such a long time, but they supported my dream from the beginning and have been extremely helpful during every step of the way.
My program start date will be here before I know it. Until that time comes, I am trying to make the most of the time I have at home with the people here and the things I love the most about being home in Washington, D.C. For this next month and a half, I will make sure that all of my study abroad requirements have been taken care of and I’m confident in my ability to complete an entire semester out of the country. Thus far in the study abroad process, I’ve been through a wide range of emotions. My main goal for the homestretch of this journey to Ghana is to keep my emotions as positive as they can be by handling my responsibilities and taking care of myself in the process.
Throughout the rest of my summer, some of these feelings continued, while some went away as my problems were solved. The excitement grew as my plans solidified and my anxious feelings were no longer my main focus leading up to my departure. My community supported me through my last moments at home and I can proudly say that I’m ready for the journey ahead of me!