I Wasn’t Able to Go Abroad and I’m Okay with That

By Diana Lichtenstein || Onion-Dip Columnist 

Last spring, when Coronavirus was beginning to spread and we were all sent home to continue classes remotely, I was devastated. The thought of being separated from my friends for so long was frightening and I wasn’t ready to leave without knowing when I would return. I was never one of the students who were optimistic about coming back at some point in the spring of 2020; once we were sent home, my pessimism and arguably, my realism, made me aware we were going to be stuck at home until this fall. 

However, I hadn’t lost all hope about going abroad yet. Ever since I was little, and I witnessed my older sister go abroad to South Africa and heard all of her amazing stories about how life-changing it was, I was set on going abroad at some point. I was signed up to go to Copenhagen for a Developmental Psych program in the fall of 2020. It was not until around May that I became less optimistic about the reality of going abroad due to the pandemic. 

For a while, I just sat in my anxiety as my mind told me to just hold out and hope I would be able to go to Europe in a few months. I also had high anxiety about my unresolved living situations for the fall semester if the program were to be canceled. This is when luck and chance served me well.

Three of my good friends texted me asking if I wanted the fourth room in the last apartment left in Crow. At that moment, I decided that structure and resolution was more important for my sanity than a new adventure. Little did I know that living in Crow with now some of my best friends would become a brand new adventure. I believe that for the most part, everything happens for a reason. Sure enough, my program was canceled shortly after I signed my lease. If I said no to the offer, I don’t even know where I would be living today. This new situation was no different. I spent most of the summer feeling angry that so many of my friends and I were stripped of our chance of living in a foreign place all on our own, but I never would have guessed that I could learn so much about myself, adulthood, and life, by just living off-campus in great company. 

Once my program was canceled, everything was put into a new perspective for me. I am the type of person that is somewhat extroverted, but it still takes me a while to adjust to new things. This was even true with each year I’ve spent at F&M. It took me a couple of months to adjust before things felt normal. Unfortunately, the abroad semester is only about four to five months…so that would have been tricky for me. By the time I would have made friends and felt comfortable, it would have been time to head home. I realized that going abroad may have been too much for me to hand. Plus, I can always travel the world after graduation or at any point in my long life that I have barely made a dent in. 

There may be some sophomores reading this piece, either contemplating going abroad or already signed up and here is my advice: Consider your own personality and capacities for change when considering going abroad and realize that whatever choice you make, it will be the correct one for you. We missed a lot of time at school last spring, so if you want to catch up on some of that time to foster better relationships, there is nothing wrong with staying at good old F&M. 

Junior Diana Lichtenstein is Onion-Dip Columnist for TCR. Her email is dlichten@fandm.edu

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