Preparing for Departure, See Ya Michigan!

Written by maddylayton January 7, 2022

It’s Friday, January 7th and I have exactly nine days before leaving on my first flight next Sunday. Some things I have been doing to prepare include a lot of shopping on Amazon and taking advantage of post-Christmas sales, spending lots of time with friends and family, trip planning, and making a vision board.

One pro tip for shopping from my mom, whether it’s true or not, is to buy luggage after Christmas. I got a huge suitcase with a hard shell from Marshal’s for about $120, which I was told was a good deal. Other random, but useful things I have bought are N95 masks off Amazon, my prescription in bulk, an outlet converter and a portable charger, which was recommended from another CIMBA blog ambassador.

On a side note, for my prescription, I have been only allowed to pick it up once a month from the pharmacy because of my insurance. I thought this would prevent me from being able to get more than a month’s supply for this trip. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. I had to sign up for a free discount card for prescriptions, which allowed me to purchase more than one out of pocket. For me, a five-month supply was about $45, so not too bad. You may have to do something similar if you are studying abroad too.

The hardest part about leaving will be saying goodbye to my friends and family. I know I will cry either in the airport or once I get to Italy or right before I leave or all three. I’m making sure to make plans with everyone at least one more time before I leave, which will hopefully make this big change a little easier to deal with.

Lastly, trip planning has been the most stressful pre-departure activity. Especially keeping up with emails from CIMBA and trying to make sure everything is set in place. I didn’t realize studying abroad would be so much work. That’s why people start applying/planning a year in advance compared to me who found the program and applied a week before the deadline in November. Ten out of ten do not recommend that impulsive behavior if you can help it.

Making a vision board was super fun. I printed pictures of all the places I wanted to go. My top destinations thus far are Spain, Croatia, and the big cities of Italy such as Rome, Naples, Venice, Florence, and Tuscany. If you like crafts and want something to do during break before your abroad experience, I would highly recommend putting something like this together. It’s like making a Pinterest board come to life.

Overall, I am beyond excited for this whole experience to begin. I have always wanted to study abroad, and a lot of generous people donated money just for me to be able to go: my family and friends, kind strangers and WMU’s Lees Honors College as well. I’m ready to leave behind the snow belt of Western Michigan and to start exploring a whole new continent and country, one that could well become a second home.