I never thought I’d get the chance to study abroad. I always wanted to, but A, it was usually too expensive, and B, for a long time, I had my attachments that kept me from wanting to be gone any longer than a couple of weeks.
Luck was in my favor this year. The trip was about a thousand dollars cheaper, and I finally mustered up the courage to be away from home for a long time. My mother and father helped me afford the tuition and airfare. There was no way I could afford the trip on my salary. I didn’t want them footing the whole bill though, so I took care of the rest, but of course, I couldn’t even do that without help from other people who sent me with money.
Even when I was packing, getting ready to go, and telling everyone I was going, it still felt surreal to me. Growing up, people had always told me that I should study abroad if possible. I’d never get another chance, they said. Of course, I had some personal objections. Could I handle being away from everything for that long? Would I be able to sustain myself for a month off of what money I had saved? Could I handle not eating food I was familiar with for a month? I loved Japanese cuisine, but the real McCoy is always different than what you can get back home.
By the time I was getting ready to go, I soon had no qualms about leaving home for a month. Things were getting weird back home in the midst of my parents’ divorce, and I had become very depressed from all of it, feeling inadequate.
They say that when you study abroad, you don’t come back the same person you were when you left. That’s true. Now, I’m more confident. I feel like I can handle whatever comes my way. I’ve grown up, and during my stay in Japan, I’ve had to fill the shoes of an adult and take care of myself, stepping up to the plate where no one else could.
I’m not sure what exactly I had in mind for the trip leading up to it, but it panned out differently than I thought it would, in a good way.