Pre-Departure

Well, this certainly came up quickly. I was accepted to the University Study in Freiburg study abroad program in August 2016, and had been gathering materials for the application since May or June. And now I leave for Germany on Sunday the 26th. The reading materiel I’ve been given for class posits that the study abroad experience actually begins before you arrive, while preparing, so I thought I might jot down some of my thoughts. This won’t be terribly eloquent, I’m afraid; I’m too frazzled to write that way right now.

The waiting sucked. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the political world hadn’t erupted in a thousand different ways while I was already getting cabin fever in my apartment. All my friends were busier than me because they went back to class long before I left. With no school to distract me, I was free to sit and worry about everything. Out of a desire to not bring politics into a blog not focused on it, I won’t get into specifics but it was a bad few weeks.

That’s behind me now, though. I’m too busy to panic at this point. I’m rushing to see as many of my college friends as possible before I leave, some of whom will graduate while I’m in Germany. I’m trying really hard to just appreciate the time we have and not take it for granted or get worked up about how it’s the last time. Unfortunately, I won’t have time to see everybody I want to before I go, but I’m seeing who I can. My friends at UMN have been so good to me, and helped me grow so much; I’ll miss them all terribly.

Travel day will be hell; it’s 8 hours on an overnight flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, then a 2-hour layover, then another hour to Frankfurt, then customs and baggage collection before a 2-hour train ride to Freiburg. I leave in the evening and have social plans the previous evening, so I won’t be sleeping too soundly the night before. Also, I have historically never been able to sleep on airplanes. At least I only have to do this all twice.

From the beginning, my mental state has pretty much been “Terrified but excited,” and that isn’t changing. I fully expect the next 5 months to be some of the hardest of my life so far, but I’m really hoping they’ll also be some of the best. I’m so excited to see what my apartment is like — it’s right on a lake with a nice park and shopping street nearby. Google Maps makes it look beautiful, and I can’t wait to watch spring unfurl after the winter I’ve just been through.

I’ll give another update after I’ve arrived. For the interim I have packing to do and goodbyes to say.

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