So, there is only 1 short day until I board my flight, with 25 other lovely York students, to the USA for our course and our mini-adventure! Although I have been counting down the days for weeks now, what I didn’t expect was the barrage of emotions that hit me as soon as I had finished dealing with all the practicalities of travelling- packing my suitcase, making sure I have enough mosquito spray and clothes and other things along those lines. I have essentially been wildly swinging between extreme excitement at the thought of experiencing something new and teary sadness at the thought of leaving my twin sister for a bit.
Now even though I know I’m going to have a fantastic time, I didn’t really think about dealing with the emotional and psychological side of things because I was so focused on the thrill of travelling to somewhere new and starting the course. In light of this, I just want to say that it’s okay and normal to feel anything other than excitement. It’s okay to feel a bit home-sick already and nervous about going somewhere new, and a little bit scared about leaving family and friends and meeting new people. Part of coping with this emotional flurry is accepting that it’s okay. It has taken a whole day of mental debate with myself to come to terms with this, but what I have learnt is that the sooner you accept that you may feel sad, home-sick or upset, the easier it will be to cope with these emotions and see past them, to all the amazing things you’re going to experience on your travels abroad. This is currently the stage I’m at after much anguish.
Now that I have put that out there, I think it’s also important to point out that there are so many good reasons to take advantage of the opportunity to travel at University and to explain why I decided to do so. The University of York and their Centre for Global Programmes is unique in that it offers you the opportunity to travel outside of your chosen academic course, so that you can expand your horizons beyond what you are already familiar with. That’s just one of the many reasons. My reasons for applying to the International Summer Centre (ISC) in the USA are many, so much so that I could spend all day answering this question. That said, I’ll give you a quick whistle-stop tour, hopefully to inspire you to take advantage of global opportunities while you’re here (I promise you, it’s worth it.) My main reasons were:
· The Course;
· The fact that the course is in the USA;
· My love of travelling (I come from quite an international, spotted background);
· A determination to take advantage of the unique opportunities presented to me at University!
As you can see, I have more than one motivating reason. Although your reasons for applying to global opportunities may be different, they are just as valid! So to explain my reasons a bit more:
The focus on Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in the course neatly links to and promises to expand on one of my absolute favourite modules in my academic course so far, that being an Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship module. The course offers a more practical approach to this subject matter, which I think is fabulous, especially since I really want to open a café one day, so gaining some practical, hands-on experience in terms of enterprise and Entrepreneurship seemed like a perfect way to take one step towards this goal.
On top of that, the USA is such a huge country; although I have been there before (way back in 2011 to Houston, one steak fed all three of us), I feel like I haven’t really even touched the metaphorical tip of the ice-berg in terms of exploring the USA, so since the ISC offers the opportunity to explore more of the USA by way of seeing Boston, New York and Massachusetts, I felt like I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by!
I have lived in a few different countries (South Africa, Cyprus, Singapore, Germany and now the UK) and I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to do so and to immerse myself in so many different cultures, but living in different countries has also fostered within me a love to travel, to see new things, try new food (Cafes in New York, I’m coming for you) and meet new people and just broaden my outlook and perspective on life. So, the travel bug within me lives on!
Finally, University is this kind of twilight period between your Sixth Form and ‘Reality’ (the adult world, scary stuff) which you should take advantage of! You should travel and embrace opportunities that come your way, and although it took me awhile to realize this, after the haze of academia settled, I now keep this firmly planted in my mind and whenever I set out to do anything, I take this into consideration, reminding myself that there are abundant opportunities that I shouldn’t let pass me by.
Looking back on these reasons has not only reminded me why I chose to apply for this specific global opportunity and why I am so excited to actually reach the USA and start learning and exploring, but has also helped me cope with some of the emotional downsides of travelling abroad. It really is an amazing opportunity and I hope I have ignited the travel bug within some of you lovely readers!
Until next time,