As I prepare to travel to the United Kingdom this week, I am struck by how my emotions oscillate between three main feelings: confusion, nausea, and excitement.
1). Confusion: For the past two years in late August, I have always journeyed from my home in West Virginia to the Hilltop. Once there, I catch up with friends, see familiar faces, and go in and out of buildings to which I am accustomed. This time, however, I will meet new people, experience a foreign environment, and be surrounded by a wholly different atmosphere. This has led to some confusion on my part, as I routinely have to remind myself that I am flying across the pond to attend school, not just driving down the D.C. Moreover, my confusion has been augmented by pounds. Formally known as British Pound Sterling, and informally known as those weird silver heptagons, the British monetary system has presented me with the most puzzlement in the lead up to study abroad. Over the course of my parents’ previous travels, they have accumulated some pounds (the symbol for which I cannot find on my laptop) and I have tried an embarrassing amount of times to properly count and identify these coins. I won’t lie and say that I have a decent understanding of them or their worth, I don’t, not at all.
2). Nausea: Sometimes I get motion sick. It’s unusual, but it does happen, and I can think of few travel related things worse than being sick on a flight across the Atlantic. To that end, I have purchased a staggering amount of motion sickness pills, most of which I probably will not use, but have stashed in various compartments of my carry-on just in case. I am also a bit nauseous when I think of leaving familiarity behind and voyaging to different a continent. But then I remind myself that I am not “discovering” a new world in the 1400s aboard a rickety ship, but simply traveling to my grandmother’s homeland on a plane.
3). Excitement: I am thrilled to get to study abroad! According to the Office of Global Education, 55% of Hoyas study abroad. But, as stated by a NAFSA poll, only 2.9% of American undergraduate students ever study abroad. Study abroad, although it seems commonplace at fine institutions such as Georgetown, is a relatively rare experience in the American collegiate world. It presents an opportunity to encounter different cultures, learn about a place and its inhabitants, and broaden one’s understanding of the world. I am lucky to have the chance to study abroad, and intend to soak up as much as I possibly can during the next three months.
Washington, D.C. –> London, England –> Bath, England.