Before I go

By Laura Hough

To start, I’d like to introduce myself — I’m Laura, a junior from the University of Missouri, and I’m studying international studies and anthropology. I love to read, write, take pictures and learn new things.

I don’t really remember what first sparked my love of traveling. I think it probably goes back to visiting my aunt in Dallas when I was 14. It was the first time I realized that there were places in the world that were, in my opinion, much more fascinating than the small Missouri town I grew up in.

Since I’ve known about it (and it’s another thing that I don’t recall hearing about for the first time), I have wanted to study abroad. I didn’t even really have a set place to go, except for maybe somewhere in Europe. I would say that I am an independent person, and leaving everything I know seems exciting, not scary. It seems like a new opportunity, and a chance to learn about the world and myself. I want to see everything I can of this world, and I think people who are content to sit at home are the crazy ones.

That’s why I am so excited to study abroad in Perugia, Italy, this semester. While there have been mountains of forms, several trips between Jesse Hall and Memorial Union, and a trip to Chicago for a student visa, as the date draws closer, I am beyond excited. Nervous, yes, because I know things could go awry along the way, but excitement definitely outweighs those feelings. I’m a little sad about some of the stuff I’ll be missing out on, too — it’s a full semester away from all the awesome friends I’ve made at Mizzou, and who knows what sort of awesome stuff I’m going to be missing out on. It’s more difficult than moving to Mizzou was — I was beyond ready to go to college, and I don’t miss being in my hometown. But I love Columbia, and Mizzou, and all of my people here, and I am going to miss that. What was surprising to me was that these thoughts gave me pause, because I haven’t felt that way about a place before, ever. It makes me happy that I have found a place at Mizzou, but it also gives me the courage that I can do it again — I can go somewhere new, where I don’t know anyone, and I’ll be OK. Studying abroad even feels like the next step, in that sense — let’s add another dimension of challenges on.

I know that I’m ready — my teachers, my advisers, my mom, even my books, everything — have helped me prepare for my adventure, and I’m more than willing to take it head on. I’m excited to do new things, see new things, take lots of pictures and meet new people.

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