One year ago, I received the email that would send me on an adventure of a lifetime. I received that long awaited acceptance email to study abroad for the Fall 2015 semester in France.
The process of applying to study abroad can be a bit overwhelming, especially the waiting game that begins after you click "Submit". I remember a flood of emotions rushing through me at that moment. I was nervous about the outcome, excited for the opportunity, and anxious about leaving the country for a whole semester. However, as college students, we quickly put those worries in the back of our minds for almost four long weeks and focus on classes and homework.
Then one morning, everyone who applied to go abroad that next semester wakes up to an email that will potentially change their lives. I remember waking up on a Tuesday morning and checking my email. To be honest, I wasn't even checking for a decision, but just the normal emails that students receive on campus. To my surprise, there it was. I was hesitant to open it at first due to the fear of maybe not getting accepted. I called my first-year roommate who applied for the same program I did and we decided to open the emails together. I don't remember much of what the email said, I only remember the bolded word "accepted". Instantly, we both began crying tears of pure happiness and excitement. I just knew this was going to be the email that changed my life and I couldn't wait!
The days after receiving that acceptance email were not filled with as much excitement. I was beginning to develop the fear of the unknown. Who was my host family going to be? What if I didn't fit in with their family? What if I can't communicate with them or any of my new professors? All of these questions kept going through my head. I knew that this was a normal phase to go through during this process. This was a big commitment and was going to have its challenges, but I kept reminding myself why I applied in the first place. I wanted the experience of living in another country, speaking a different language, and learning about different cultures. I wanted to travel and see the world, and I did just that.
During my four months abroad in Europe, I visited four countries, lived with an incredible family who became like my own, became fluent in a second language, and had the experiences I thought I would only dream about. I made memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. I also grew as a person and, as cliché as it may sound, I found myself. I found out how strong and independant I can be and I learned that I really do love learning about different cultures and travelling. Those four months were without a doubt the most life-changing four months for me, and I would jump at the chance to do it all over again.
Remember that email that I received on that brisk March morning? The one that caused me tears of joy, but also fears and doubts? Well, that email gave me priceless memories and experiences. That email sent me on an adventure of a lifetime that would allow me to grow as a person. That email changed my life.