If you had asked me around this time last year if I would be on academic exchange, I would probably say no. I had a lot of other SHIT going on in my life. But, a turn of events caused me to spontaneously apply to study in California this Fall. I applied exactly one day before the application was due. I received my acceptance letter almost immediately. And just like that, my life was about to change.
Leading up to exchange, it almost seemed as if everyone was more excited than I was. Everywhere I went, people I knew would stop me and say the most generic travelling things:
“You’re going to have so much fun!”
“You’re so lucky, I never got to do that when I was in college!”
“You’re never going to want to come back home!”
I would usually dismiss these statements. For me, this exchange
is was merely an opportunity to study abroad. Whenever people would say I was “so lucky” and was “going to have so much fun,” I would get annoyed. I wasn’t travelling for mere leisure, I was here to go to school. Little did I know that only 2 weeks abroad, I would already feel like a changed person.
I can’t say I really liked California much my first few days here. I was feeling homesick already. I spent my first day alone in a hotel then the following few days in an Airbnb. I was alone in a new country. I didn’t have anyone to call or hang out with. My days were spent lying down in a bed that wasn’t mine, watching Netflix, and ordering in food. I felt as if I had just made the biggest mistake of my life coming here.
This all changed a few days later during “International Student Orientation.” I completely forgot how hard it was to make friends. There was this HUGE line of International students. Over 300 of us. All of them clearly from different countries. But, being the ambitious little woman that I am, I approached the Swedish girl in-front of me (She is now my roommate hehe). One friend, turned into 2 friends, and later that day I already had a whole crew of friends from all over the world!
It’s funny how meeting new people and FINALLY settling in changes your perception of your environment. Only 3 weeks into my exchange and I already want to call California home. My professors are AMAZING, the weather is beautiful, and my mindset has been nothing but positive. Other than missing my family, close friends, and my dog, I haven’t experienced any sad, anxious or negative thoughts recently. I am truly happy. I see California as a land of opportunity and all I want to do is experience everything.
Stay turned for my new travel series – First stop, CALIFORNIA.