As I step out of terminal 4 at JFK airport, my ears are filled with the strong echo of American accents surrounded by crowds of people who seem so unfamiliar. I then begin to question myself, “Should I be here?”
It’s been my first two weeks of studying for a semester in the United States and my first ever experience of living abroad. I’ve travelled from my home country in England, and no, I don’t drink tea!
The biggest challenge out of all of this is adjusting and finding my place in a location where I’ve never been before.
In the time that I have been here, I have already visited Staten Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, the National History Museum and Chinatown. It reminded me of my childhood favorite TV show, ‘Friends.’
New York City is very beautiful and memorizing. I still have many months of discovering, which is quite daunting. I just keep in mind of the saying, ‘time flies when your having fun,’ which encourages me to keep busy and making the most of this rare opportunity.
I can honestly say this is my biggest step out of my comfort zone as I’m still coming to terms with how different everything is. My expectations are far from reality, family and friends are no longer a few minutes drive away; my college schedule is a little busier with frequent homework (which I thought I’d left behind in my school days). On my first week, I was told this is a ‘dry campus’ even for 21 year olds like me!
Despite all these changes, so far I am really enjoying my time at Mercy College as I am indulging in the changes and meeting new people.
One thing that has made my time away from home valuable so far is the focus on what I want in my life. I’ve come out of a routine I once had and now need to restart, which will determine on what I want to get out of this experience.
I recommend for anyone that is about to venture out of your comfort zone whether that is starting a new career, moving to a different country or even study abroad like me.
Don’t hold back and get talking to people who are in the same position as you as well as experienced people of your new location who can give you tips on the best restaurants or a cheap transport.
Try not to worry about what is going on back home or what used to be. This has been the most hardest and hurtful part of my experience, that I keep wondering who my best friend will now hang out with whilst I’m gone or will things still be the same with my boyfriend.
If a relationship between a friend or boyfriend is strong enough to make it through your own life changing experience, then it shows how important they are in your life and they really are with you for the long run rather than a temporary companion.
Just have patience and remember your experiencing one of the most life changing events you may ever encounter, at some point things will just fall into place, for better or for worse.
Learn to embrace the change. Even whilst I’m typing this article, I feel glitches of anxiety and panic whether this was the right decision and if I’m really missing out on what’s going on back home.
However, life does not run in a straight line. We all face tough challenges at some point in our lives, so the more your push your boat out from time to time the easier it will be to face something unexpected, which you may never of intended to happen.
The point of all this is that no matter what kind of person you are, you can flourish outside what you’re used to. Life is all about the journey rather than the destination and its up to you only you to make things happen.
Having a good experience on a study abroad is all about your perspective. Don’t let anybody hold you back, especially if that person is yourself.
Be strong. Be yourself and remember you’re not alone!