Maybe not now. Maybe not in a few weeks. Maybe not until the second you step on that plane. But there is going to be a time where you stop and think to yourself,
“WHAT AM I ABOUT TO DO?! THIS IS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE!”
For me, that moment was when I was almost at London Heathrow. The few months leading up to London, I was too preoccupied with preparing and learning about the city from the safety of my comfort zone to really let nerves get to me. But if you’ve found yourself in that moment now (and maybe you’ve just googled ‘nervous about studying abroad’ hoping to find someone in the same situation), calm down, take a deep breath, and try and remember a few things.
1. (Almost) no one returns from study abroad wishing they hadn’t gone. I’m sure it happens, but I’ve never heard of anyone say that personally, and I’ve talked to a lot of people who have studied abroad. What usually happens is that everyone returns with about 8,323 pictures to share with their oh-so-lucky friends and family, a lot of stories that are usually only funny if you were there, and a huge appreciation for another culture and a bigger world view. It’s going to be okay!
2. You’ve done this before. Being nervous about studying abroad is no different than being nervous about starting a new school or meeting someone for the first time. You’re uncomfortable about what to expect and how you should react, but it doesn’t take long to get your bearings straight and become familiar with your immediate surroundings.
3. You’ll adapt more easily than you think you will. Before you leave, it’s hard to imagine a world where you might not have your favorite food available or the exact drug store you’re used to or the ability to go to your local movie theater on a Friday night. It feels like you might spend all of your time abroad missing certain things you’re used to. The truth? You won’t! Living abroad is far more exciting than going to your local movie theater on a Friday night, and you’ll be too busy meeting people and traveling to new cities to even notice things you thought you’d miss.
If you’re a control freak like me, don’t forget about Google Maps street-view. You can look up your local area if you have the address you’ll be living at so you know what to expect. As always, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the area you’ll be living in London or for any other advice. Being nervous about studying abroad is normal, but it won’t last for long and soon you’ll be far too busy wishing you never had to return to America to even remember you were ever scared.