Feeling nervousness or fear is normal. My first year in university was something I was tremendously nervous about; I would be in a new environment surrounded by completely new classmates, professors, and classes. Those same feelings of nervousness have now translated over to my first future study abroad experience in Cusco, Perú. I am going to be immersing myself in a completely new environment, a different continent with even more “newness” as first starting university. In addition, as a Mexican-American, I’m going to be in a new culture that I haven’t yet experienced and is different to mine. Questions such as “How will my host country feel about me? How will they perceive that fact that I grew up in the United States? How will they perceive my Spanish? Will my Spanish be good enough?”will arise. All of these questions cloud my brain as I’m getting ready to depart. Although I haven’t experienced my study abroad program quite yet, I know it already has something in common with my first year of university. That is, at the end of it all, I will be able to come out successful with new learning experiences and growth, just how I ended off my first year in university. For sure, I will experience feelings of nervousness as I am already experiencing feelings of nervousness about study abroad and no doubt will I experience these same feelings again during my experience. For sure, it will have its ups and downs, just like my first year in college. However, just like how I ended my first year of university, I know that by the end of the program, I will have so many learning experiences and will be able to grow as a person.
For the person reading this, look back at something you were tremendously nervous about, whether that be entering your first year in college or going back, joining a club for a first time, or something similar. Look back and realize that despite those feelings of nervousness towards these new things, you made it through in one piece and you were able to take away a lot of learning experiences from just trying out that new thing. As for studying abroad, am I tremendously nervous for the departure alone, being in a completely different continent, taking new classes, meeting my host family, new professors, and new classmates? Absolutely. But do I know that I’ll be completely ok and will come out of the program with learning experiences and be able to grow as a person? Absolutely yes. I can look back and think of all the times I felt fear for trying something new and all of the times I learned from trying out that new thing. Trying new things can be challenging no matter what stage in life you may be. Nervousness and newness go hand in hand. It’s not a bad thing, especially when you think back to all of the times you have done something new, realized that you made it through in one piece, and are able to do it all over again.