Ok, so the day is inching closer and closer. Today is July 10th and I have a flight booked leaving from Chicago at noon on July 18th and arriving in Santiago at their noon on July 19th. I am actually really nervous, something I didn’t think I would be feeling. I am scared that all of the friends I have made here will forget about me and that I will forget about them. I recently began a summer job with a program here on campus and have made incredible connections here too, ones that I have to put on hold from advancing for an entire year, an entire 12 months. I do not regret my decision one bit because I know what an incredible experience this will be, but I can’t help to wonder how different my life would be if I had decided not to study abroad, or if I had chosen the route of just one semester.
I sent my visa in a few weeks ago and was nervously awaiting a confirmation e-mail of when to go to Chicago to sign and collect my visa and passport. I finally got the e-mail two days ago and have to go to Chicago on July 16th, just two days before my flight! I never knew I would have to go through so much paperwork in my life! The application process along with being a study abroad correspondent and classroom connections participant is stressful enough, but the added workload of making doctor’s appointments and constantly checking the CIEE study abroad website for updates, orientation information, and new tasks to do is becoming pretty strenuous when combined with my 24/7 position of being a camp counselor for the PEOPLE program this summer. I really feel like an adult now though, which is probably a good thing because I just turned 20 one month ago.
I am so excited to be in Santiago though. I cannot wait to see my friends there, get to know the other people who are studying abroad, speak Spanish, and see more parts of the city. I am really scared of the language barrier though. Luckily, the PEOPLE program I work with has many students and counselors who speak Spanish so I have been speaking to them in Spanish any chance I get.
The most difficult part of preparing to leave has been trying to spread my time out so that I am having fun, making money, spending time with my family and friends, but also leaving time for me to sleep, relax, and prepare myself for the culture shock I know is coming.
Right now I would say I am a good mix of scared, nervous, excited, and curious about my trip. My next post will not be until after I arrive in Santiago, so keep me in your thoughts and please comment if you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement! 🙂