By Stephanie Hornstra
This is one of my favorite quotes, and an excellent point to keep in mind when buying a round-trip plane ticket to Amsterdam. As I watch my entire life savings slowly dwindle down in only a matter of months, I keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it in the end.
In six short days, I will be embarking on my very first exciting venture out of the country! Specifically, Universiteit Maastricht in the Netherlands, and I could not be more excited. Since I was very young, I have always wanted to be a traveler. Whether it was my childhood self running away from my parents in every crowded place imaginable, or my decision to attend a college seven hours away from home, there is conclusive evidence that I’ve been itching to get out there and see the world. However, no matter how ready I think I am, there is still some looming panic.
Things that are currently stressing me out about study abroad: the fact that I’m up to my body weight in paperwork, the fact that I’ve never left the country, the fact that my dad thinks every man in Europe will rob me then sell me into slavery and, lastly, the fact that I am a broke college student working a minimum wage job. This leaves me asking myself many questions, such as what makes me think a two-month deadline means it can easily be finished in one day? Why do I need to complete 30 forms that all ask for the exact same information anyway? When I get to Europe will people call me “the stupid American” and shoot spitballs at me? Why does my dad think I’m as dumb as the girl from the movie “Taken?” And finally, why am I not better friends with Bill Gates?
I know that when I overcome all issues regarding money, safety, ignorance, etc. I will tell myself how worth it all of that stress was. However, for now it’s just hard to see past my overdrawn bank account and the ridiculous stack of papers blocking my view. Regardless of all costs, emotional and monetary, I know that this is the opportunity of a lifetime and could not be any more grateful to be given the chance to spend a semester abroad.