University of Wisconsin–Madison

Introducing Irina – Aix-en-Provence, France

Quote of the Day:

“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I feel wanderlust more strongly as my days bring me closer and closer to a year abroad. And this extends beyond seeing the world – I am eager to find myself in these new places, to grow, and to lose myself in all of the new experiences I will have.

In anticipation of a year abroad, emotions run wild.

What will I miss the most? What will I love the most? What is culture shock really like? Are my language skills adequate? Can I do this all on my own?

Despite any negative feelings, and although I have never been to Aix-en-Provence, I can picture myself there; smelling new foods, hearing new inflections, seeing new landscapes and people, feeling independent and learning more about who I am. I am ready for this challenge and all of the satisfaction that will come with it; I know the benefits will outweigh any hardships. Soon enough, I will be munching on macarons, hiking new terrain, and enjoying average temperatures that never dip below 40 degrees! Sometimes I wonder if I am embarking on a year long vacation…

Since being accepted to the program, my perception of time has swayed between too slow and too fast; some days leaving seems like a different lifetime, and others, when things are due or meetings commence, it seems as though the date is coming so quickly. There is still so much to be done before leaving, which puts me at a distance, but I also know that everything will happen so quickly once summer rolls around. I am afraid but I am excited; my fear drives me to be courageous. I cannot wait for the year of a lifetime.

À bientôt !