New Decade, New Experience!
Written by Maisie January 9, 2020
Ciao! My name is Maisie, and I am so excited to be blogging for CIMBA for the Spring 2020 semester. I am currently a junior enrolled at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
My decision process for studying abroad was an absolute blur. To be completely honest, I filled out my application to study abroad with CIMBA one week before it was due. One of my close friends had approached me in class with a CIMBA brochure and said, “We need to do this.”
I usually spend time thinking things through very thoroughly, but knowing that I didn’t have much time, I hit the ground running with my application. One thing led to another, I was accepted, and before I knew it, I was reading the subject line of an email that read “Countdown to Italy: 70 Days!”. My stomach flew into my throat. Throughout a busy semester of schoolwork, working two jobs and leading an experiential learning group on two week-long trips, I realized I had never taken the time to really sit and reflect on this decision. I was flooded with every emotion you could think of.
Preparing to leave the people and places that feel like home to immerse myself in a new life was and still is a consistent battlefield in my mind. I have never traveled outside of the United States, and I have never been away from “the familiar” for more than two weeks at a time. So, naturally, when I anticipate three months in a foreign place, fear begins to take over. Will I be able to fully enjoy my experience when homesickness kicks in? Will the fear of missing out on events at home be too intense for me to handle?
At the same time, I have an incredible support system of amazing people who are nothing but encouraging. Their excitement for me is very reassuring. I am also not blind to the fact that my largest personal growth milestones have come from situations like these, when I am pushed to my limits and bravery must overcome fear. My experiential learning group through WMU uses the slogan, “Encouraging Change, Opening Apertures, Changing Trajectories”. I am more than confident that my time abroad will instill all of these within myself even more.
Throughout my back-and-forth notions of anxiousness and faith, concern and bravery, jitters and confidence, I rest in the knowledge that this trip will provide adventures that are comparable to none. I am ready to embrace whatever these next three months have to offer with a clear heart and an open mind. I am hopeful yet unsure, excited yet terrified, but above all, I am willing to feel every emotion because it’s all part of the experience.
Here’s to starting off a new decade with the trip of a lifetime.
Bring it on, 2020!
“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard