Ever since I was about twelve, I knew I wanted to study abroad. It just seemed like such a sweet deal — getting to live in a foreign country while learning. How could it get any better? Ever since, the only problem has been that I didn’t know where I wanted to go. There’s a whole world out there, so how could I possibly settle on just one?
I still have that problem — the problem of indecision. It affects every aspect of my life, but lately my indecision around study abroad hasn’t just been what country to go to. My indecision has spread to whether or not I should even go. The possibility of not studying abroad was never something I had considered until a few days ago.
But why? Why wouldn’t I want to study abroad?
The more I try and sit down and shift through my options to make my final and concrete decisions about when and where to go, the more I am overtaken by an overwhelming sense of anxiety. I haven’t experienced anxiety this bad since I started my medication (I know, I really need to write about my anxiety separately, but it hasn’t happened yet). That being said, it wasn’t terrible in terms of past anxieties — there were no panic attacks or anything like that, but I’ve been very unsettled about studying abroad. The thing is, I don’t want to just go for the sake of going. Yes I do want to travel and see the world, but I’m not sure that studying abroad is going to be the way to do that for me.
At this point, since I still don’t know where in the world I want to go, I feel like I would just be choosing a country at random to spend four months in. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with doing that, I don’t know if that’s what I want to do. I just don’t have a particular passion for any one place on the globe more than any other, and I’m not sure I can personally justify going somewhere for a whole semester on a whim.
There are also several conflicts on the home front to my going abroad for a semester. Assuming I did settle on a place to go and all that, I would still have to figure some things out. Next year I will no longer be living in university housing, which means I would have to sublease. I know this isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, I just don’t like the idea of it. I don’t want to completely move into an apartment for just one semester and then have to take my personal belongings out for someone else to live there for the next.
I’m also growing a lot just by staying on my campus, especially spiritually. I’m afraid that if I spent so long away from a spiritual community, that I would lose my desire to continue growing a bit.
There are leadership opportunities on campus that I’m looking into that I wouldn’t be able to do if I studies abroad. It just wouldn’t be possible.
I had a few other obstacles on my list as well, but they have escaped me for the time being.
Then again, I don’t know if all of this is just my fear talking. While I don’t want to go senselessly, I also don’t want to let my fears and anxieties stand in the way of a great opportunity. I don’t want to look back years from now and regret that I didn’t study abroad.
It’s just so much to figure out and it’s all decisions that only I can make. Sure I can get help from a few places, but ultimately the decision is mine. What’s a girl to do?