As of today I will officially be leaving for Auckland, New Zealand in less than a week. Until yesterday, I consistently felt like I had a world of time ahead of me before I would be leaving. Don’t get me wrong, I was always preparing myself to go abroad, thanks especially to my program, ISA, pushing me to get everything done early (thank goodness for them lol). I have most definitely experienced conflicting feelings about the process of getting ready to go abroad. The constant emails about getting forms in on time, learning about the culture of your future host city, and knowing what to pack is a bit overwhelming despite knowing that an amazing experience is right around the corner.
First off, I am so excited to have the opportunity to go abroad to a country I have always dreamed about visiting. My school luckily pushes experiences like this so it was not hard for me to gain access to studying abroad. To clarify, I have had an insane amount of help through this entire process, really not having to do anything by myself if I did not feel comfortable doing so. I have been extremely blessed in comparison to those who choose to go abroad independently without the support of their institution. Not only did my school help me, but my program, ISA, has been an extreme help especially when it came to things pertaining to New Zealand, like getting my student visa ( I most likely would have been rejected without their guidance haha).
Despite the help of others, I have also had to do a bunch of research on my own to make sure that I know as much as possible the second I touch down in my host city. Luckily New Zealand is relatively similar to the United States with some minor but, to my liberal mind, great differences. It was pretty easy to find information about the culture and learn about how friendly everyone there would be. I luckily will not have a language barrier to deal with unless you consider a thick accent and a lot of unfamiliar slang a barrier. Looking through lists of slang is easy, but definitely showed me that communication abroad my be a bit confusing since terms we use in America mean completely different things over there.
The thing I have struggled with the most is knowing what to pack. There are so many things I need to bring but I am only allowed a check-in item of 50 pounds, the smallest carry-on item, and a backpack that fits under the airplane seat. There are so many tips and tricks scattered throughout the internet for this, but I cannot explain how personalized these resources would need to be in order to be helpful for my level of OCD. Even with those resources, I still have to choose what pants, skirts, shirts, and shoes to bring which is hard for a person like me who relies on my fashion to make me feel good. Not to mention, I also hate doing laundry so I have to bring enough to last me at least 3 weeks so I can avoid it.
As you can tell with my inexperience in things that are probably pretty natural to some, I have never been abroad. I used to go to Mexico with my mom and family friends, but a 5 hour drive to a tourist location is nothing in comparison to a 12 hour flight to a country across the world, so it goes without saying that this upcoming experience is pretty nerve-racking for me. All I know is that despite my nerves and all the slightly confusing things I’ve had to learn and decide upon, I am so excited to be able to have this experience and I can’t wait to arrive in Auckland and get started.