Introducing Beth (Sweden)

Hello there!

I hardly know where to start! This journey to study abroad has been a long one, to say the least. Applying in February, I have been waiting a very long time to make the trek to the land of ABBA, Swedish Fish, and IKEA (one look at my apartment and you’ll understand the extent of my love for the blue furniture store).

To tell you more a little about myself, I am currently a junior in Anthropology and Linguistics. I am the youngest of three children and I am originally from Middleton, WI (a whole 20 minutes away from campus!) That is actually part of the reason that I’ve been so adamant about studying abroad. Originally when looking at colleges, I wanted to go somewhere far away from home, just to prove to myself that I could do it. However, Madison was truly the best option for me in the long run and in studying abroad I get the opportunity I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone.

Despite the long months of preparation, I find myself growing increasingly worried as January looms ahead.

I know everyone says it will be great. Everyone says I’ll have the best time of my life and I’ll never forget it. I know all of this yet that doesn’t stop me from being a perpetual worrier. From the day I was born, I’ve been worrying. I am also a planner. I compulsively make lists like nobody’s business! I like to anticipate every possibility, what’s wrong with that? Going to a foreign country where you barely speak the language (forgetting the fact that most all Swedes speak English) and the closest person I know lives almost 1000 miles away terrifies me slightly. Did I mention the fact that I will be the only person in my program from Madison? Oh, joy!

Contrary to my slight pessimism, I am so excited. I’m excited to force myself outside of what I’m use to. Excited to push myself to become more outgoing, to try every opportunity. In a way, I think it’s great that I am the only person from Madison to go to Sweden. After all, one of my goals studying abroad is to put myself in a wholly foreign environment and force myself to adapt. At least I won’t have a crutch.

Previous to hitting the two-month mark before my trip, the fact I’ll be living in Umeå, Sweden did not feel real. Waiting for almost a year made the reality of studying abroad seem faint. I won’t lie, having that realization made me have a bit of a panic attack, mostly because I feel so unprepared. In actually, I think I’ve started to let myself be excited. After the Scandinavian orientation program, I’ve begun to count down the days before one of the best adventures of my life begins. (T-minus 59 days)

In my time abroad, I know I will find great friends, unparalleled experiences, and most importantly that which I want to find within myself.

My next adventure, to start packing…