Thursday, October 21st was the first study abroad meeting. All study abroad students are now required to go to meetings in order to prepare us for the experience. It felt more like a “Lets Scare the Study Abroad Students into Staying in America ” meeting.
We were told that as soon as we get to the country we will be staying in we should go to the embassy and formally introduce ourselves. Which is a good idea but it is scary to think that if we need anything or we get into trouble we will be relying on people at “the Embassy” it sounds so official, and therefore, scary.
We were told to find as safe place. Like if we felt endangered or anything were to happen we should go there. Most of us assumed that would be the embassy the response we got was “what if the embassy is under attack?” Okay so SCRATCH that idea.
Then the advisor told us that once we land we are probably going to experience some serious shock. He is probably right. I will be in a foreign country. I will not know what any of the signs mean, I will have no idea where I am going let alone how to get there, everyone around me will be speaking German, it will be a huge time difference and I am still clueless about the euro and how it works. I am starting to stress just thinking about it.
Next question was “What makes you uncomfortable?” someone said when people are fighting around me, either arguing or physically fighting. I instantly thought, how am I even going to be able to tell when people are arguing. It is a totally new culture. Half the time I don’t even know if Americans are about to fight or if they are kidding. I have a feeling I am not going to know if people are fighting until someone gets punched in the face.
“What is something you do everyday can you do it in the foreign country? If not, how are you going to adjust?” What do I do everyday? I work and I walk my dog. I have been thinking a lot lately of how I am going to handle not working. I have had a job since I was 16 yrs old and for this last semester I have been a full time student and a full time employee. Luckily, I do not think this will be a hard change to adjust to, the hard part will be coming back to work after having a six month vacation.
Now Tucker, lets talk about Tucker.
I have had him since he was two months old.
I took care of him when he had kennel cough,
I fed him from my hands when he didn’t want to eat,
I brought him to a pool for the first time,
I potty trained him,
I take him to the vet when he doesn’t feel good,
I take him to the dog park to make him happy,
I sleep with him every night (even though he hogs the bed),
He makes me laugh,
He warms my feet,
He takes care of me when I don't feel good,
And I love him soo much!
So much that I even pick up his poop on a daily basis. When I go away for a week and my father puppy-sits, I think about him constantly, and can’t wait to come home to see him again. What the hell am I going to do without him for six months? I’m pretty sure this will be the hardest part of going abroad for me. When I have a bad day, or I am stressed out, or I don’t feel good, or I just need to cuddle, Tucker is there. ALWAYS. My mom will be watching the handsome pup while I am abroad and she should be prepared to send me a picture everyday and be an expert at skyping so Tuck doesn’t forget about me. I know it sounds a little crazy but lately he is the only part of my life that is consistent, and I won't have that in Europe.
So as of right now objective numero uno is to find a pet shelter in Innsbruck to help deal with the void that will soon be in my life!
After the meeting I started thinking about EVERYTHING that will be different. What do I eat and drink now on a daily basis?... Will they have sweet tea? They don’t even have sweet tea at most restaurants in Florida I can probably forget about it in Europe. Will anyone have ranch dressing? How do I say ranch dressing in German? How will I know what kind of shampoo to buy? Will they have Bed Head TIGI Self absorbed Mega Nutrient Rich Shampoo? Wait, what if they have something better? What if I can’t get that once I come back to the states? My mind is still racing but I will spare you the rest of my insane illusions.
So as of right now I am starting to get nervous. I know the experience will be worth it and I am excited to go but this is the first time I am actually considering how difficult all of this is going to be.