My Study Abroad Goals

As the semester winds down, I’ve been doing what everyone else does—cramming for finals, catching up with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, and spending time with my best friends before we all have to say goodbye. But goodbye is a little different this year than it was last year.

Last May as I said goodbye it was just for three months before we all returned to campus in the fall for sophomore year. Now, when I say goodbye, it’s until January. The next time I step foot on a BU campus I will be in London for my semester abroad and I won’t be back in Boston until January 2019. That’s crazy to me seeing as we’re not even halfway through 2018. But, the excitement has been building and I’ve spent some time noting down some goals I want to accomplish while I’m in London relating to academics, professional, and personal areas and here they are.

1. Learn to be alone.

A long time ago someone told me that being able to be comfortable being alone is super important and that’s something that’s always kind of stuck with me. I’m the kind of person who gets anxious at the thought of eating alone in the dining hall and being in a new country where I will only know two other people (who aren’t even in my program), is going to mean a good chunk of my time will probably be spent alone. I’m on the internship program and my best friend Jamie is on the history program which means she’s going to be studying and doing research a good portion of the time so I will have to learn to be on my own. It sounds kinda silly but this is one of my most important goals for while I’m away because it's one of the ones that scares me the most.

2. Travel.

I’ve only been out of the country once on a two-week trip to Israel when I was in eighth grade. Other than that, I’ve traveled a decent amount around the states, but I’m so excited to travel around Europe. Europe is great for traveling because everything is so close together so getting around is relatively easy and cheap. It’s important to do research to see what is the most cost-effective, but my roommate and I have been working on our travel list for quite some time so we’re super excited.  For those of you wondering, the top five places are Italy, Ireland, and Scotland, Spain, and France.

3. Budgeting.

Although we’re going to a BU campus in London, there are no dining halls; we have kitchens in our dorms and it’s up to us to cook for ourselves or just get take out. I love cooking, but cooking means groceries and that can be expensive, especially in a city like London which is notoriously expensive. Budgeting when it comes to groceries, eating out, shopping, and any other activities is going to be super important for me and I’m hoping it’ll carry over to when I come back to the states. I’m a self-proclaimed shopaholic, which was all fine and dandy until I started paying my own credit cards bills last summer. Budgeting is a skill I will definitely be able to benefit from.

4. Living alone.

This kinda goes with number 3 as budgeting is part of living alone, but there’s a lot more to it. Now living alone may seem a bit odd because I sort of live alone at BU. Yes, I have a roommate and suitemates, but my parents aren’t around and we’re pretty independent. But, with going to London, I’m going to be even further from my parents and I’ll have to start over in a new city (not to mention I’m going to be in the professional sphere for my internship). We have to cook for ourselves, figure out the tube, and just generally be adults in an unfamiliar city and I’m sure it's going to teach me a lot about living on my own and being independent.

5. Take advantage of every opportunity.

London is a city that reminds me a lot of Boston or New York in that there’s always stuff going on and things to do. I’ve lived in Boston for two years and I’m honestly disappointed in how little I’ve ventured out into the city and experienced all of the places and activities it has to offer. So, as a result of this, it is my mission in London to do as many things and say yes to as many things as I can. Whether it’s stuff for my internship, BU organized trips, or just a night out with my friends, I want to experience as much of the city and as much of Europe as I can because who knows when I’ll be back. College is one of the last times we can just go out and do whatever we want and studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience (sometimes twice in a lifetime) and I want to make sure I make the most of it.

6. Work on me.

College has taught me so much about myself. It’s featured some of my highest highs and my lowest lows, and everything has been a lesson. I’ve changed so much over the past two years and that was only by moving to the other side of the state where I grew up. Moving to another country is going to feature a lot of lows, I’m sure, like missing the hell out of my friends and family and I’m fully prepared for my anxiety to skyrocket for a bit. But, I also know it’s going to be an unmatched and enriching experience that I’m hoping will help me figure out some more pieces about who I am. Cliché, I know, but figuring out who you are and what you want is important and I think moving to a new country and experiencing new cultures and situations is really going to help me develop as an individual. I’m just hoping it’s for the better. ;)

7. Enjoy every second.

I’ve already begun journaling for London courtesy of the beautiful journal my big gave me during Big/Little week. I’ve written in all of the stuff I have to get done before I leave like finishing pre-departure forms, getting my passport, getting my work visa, and registering for classes and I’ve input all of my flight options and important dates. MY favorite part is to to-do list which has all of the places and activities I want to see and do while I’m over there. My plan for the rest of the pages is to journal once a day starting in August before I leave until I come home at the end of December. It’s important to live in the moment and take everything in, but I also want to write that all down at the end of the day so I can look back and relive it with clarity. This is going to be one of the best times of my life (hopefully) so I want to make sure I remember it.

Studying abroad honestly terrifies me, but I’m also so excited to start this new chapter and to see and experience new places and people. Saying goodbye is going to be so hard, but it’s not really goodbye, it’s a see you later. Have a great summer lovelies and I’ll see you all in January, ideally with a British boyfriend but we’ll see how that works out ;)

HCXO,

Ari <3

 

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