First of all, thank you for taking the time to check out this blog. I hope to continue writing over the course of my study abroad experience and to use this blog as a way to reflect on the inspiring, eye-opening, humorous, and heartfelt moments of my next four months. It will also serve as wide-reaching, effective, and easy way to communicate my experiences with friends, family, and whoever cares to read.
This morning I woke up and I was asked if I had had any nightmares about going abroad to Morocco yet. And the truth is, I haven’t. It really hadn’t registered that I am leaving until very recently. But today especially my stomach churned as I thought about my upcoming semester. Mostly, I just panicked. So, I wrote down the things that scare me, and hoped that by writing them down they would lose some of their power. I wrote down the words culture shock, isolation, communication barriers, academic challenges, and fear of the unknown. Oh, and squat toilets, definitely squat toilets.
Looking at my list didn’t lessen the looming threat of these very real, and in fact, very probable difficulties I could face. (Side note, while making sure I knew how to spell the word “looming” I stumbled upon the visual looming syndrome Wikipedia page which also sounds terrifying.) But I realized that while I could write down my fears with ease, I experienced more difficulty as I thought about the rewards. I realized that I have absolutely no idea the wonders and learning that lie ahead of me. I cannot anticipate the lessons I will learn, the incredible stories I will hear, nor the people I never would have had the opportunity to meet without this experience. And I have no idea the person I will be by the end of it all, which is maybe the most exciting part.
Next week, I will have flown internationally for the first time. I will reside in a country whose primary language is not my own. I will say goodbye to my loved ones for a very long time. And I’m both excited and petrified. But I know that it is a priceless opportunity to be able to face that which is frightening. In the wise words of a fellow Omaha native, I will find my fears and face them. And moreover, I will be better for it. And I can’t wait to see what wonderful moments lie ahead.