Study Abroad Update: I Am Scared to Go

I am going to England for three months in 29 days. 29. Uh. What the hell was I thinking when I signed up for this?

Of course, I am excited. I am taking an opportunity that most people (including myself) dream about. Almost every one I tell, tells me how jealous they are, and I can’t wait to see all that there is in Europe.

But, I am totally scared to go.

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On Wednesday, we had a bizarre weather day in Maryland. In the morning, it was low 60’s, breezy, and no humidity. It felt like fall – one of the perfect fall days when everyone studies outside, impromptu kickball games are started, and classes sit Indian-style on the quad instead of cramped into lecture halls. But, it was only when I started to get excited about the upcoming fall that it hit me that, I will not be here come mid-September.

I am not starting classes or moving in with my friends in two weeks. I won’t be at the dining hall when the freshman are trying to figure out where to find the silverware. I won’t be tripping over everyone in the library to find an open computer. I won’t be loading up a cart at Walmart this weekend with pencils and paper for the fall semester.

These things may sound petty to you when compared to the European adventure that I am embarking on in four weeks, but I can’t help but feel a little bit sad that I won’t be here for them.


Change is one of those things that can be a double edged sword. On one hand, you get to experience something new and exciting, and on the other you leave behind a safety net which most likely includes some of the people you love.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared to go to England. I feel butterflies in my stomach every time a plan flies overhead, thinking that in four weeks I’ll be on my own plane.

People keep asking me if I am going to England with anyone, maybe a friend or someone else from school. “Just me,” I tell them. “Just you?” they say. “Just me,” I repeat, like maybe if I say it enough times, it’ll sink in.


Of course I am excited to go to England. I get more and more excited every day, but that doesn’t mean that I am not just a little bit sad to leave some things behind. There are so many people that I will miss when I go, and the goodbyes that are soon to come are going to be tough ones.

However, if my first three years in college have taught me anything, it’s that I am stronger and braver than I ever thought I could be. I may be going to a new place for a few months, but I know I am strong enough to make it through and make the most of this incredible experience.

Even if it is just me.

Have you ever traveled to the UK? Studied abroad? What tips do you have for moving to a new place alone?


54 thoughts on “Study Abroad Update: I Am Scared to Go

  1. joannahollyxo August 16, 2013 / 9:49 am

    I’d be baffled if you weren’t scared haha! You’re doing such a brave thing, I salute you.
    I think you’ll have so much fun. I love Leichester – I think that’s where I read you’re going anyway, it’s a gorgeous place. Good luck!

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 9:54 am

      Thanks, Joanna. I will be in Leicester – I’m guessing that’s the same as Leichester? lol. Totally excited but worried to go at the same time!

  2. juliecrombe August 16, 2013 / 10:00 am

    Don’t be scared! When I was 18 I went studying abroad in Central America and this year I studied in the French part of Belgium (I’m from the Flemish part of Belgium) which seemed to be another country also and this last semester I did my internship in Spain.

    Really! Don’t be scared! If you’re by yourself you make friends way faster than if you’re with someone! In my own country I’m not that social but for some reason I make great new friends abroad all the time!

    The only thing that might scare you is that time flies once you’re there cause missing your new friends and telling them goodbye will be the hard part. When leaving your home, you know for sure that after a while you’re gonna see everyone back, but when leaving the UK, it all depends on whether you have time/money to see your new friends back!

    Please check out my blog and let’s follow each other!

    • Sam August 20, 2013 / 8:22 am

      It’s nice to hear that you didn’t have trouble making friends. It’s great that you have had so many experiences to go abroad! I’ve definitely had a lot of people telling me how time flies when abroad, so I’ll have to remember to document as much as I can. Thanks for commenting – hearing good things about study abroad experiences makes me feel a little bit better and less nervous.

  3. myclosetnbeautyfinds90 August 16, 2013 / 10:08 am

    i’ve never been out of my home state by myself so i can’t imagine what it would be like to be going out of the country. i don’t even know how studying abroad works. i’ve always been kind of interested. but it sounds like a great adventure. i’m sure you’ll get so much out of it.

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 10:19 am

      I’ve been out of the country before, but I’ve always had my family with me. Basically, with study abroad you go to a different country and take classes in one of their colleges. The logistics vary for each place and school. Luckily because I from the US and, I will be in the UK for less than six months, I didn’t have to pay for a visa because they can be costly.

      • myclosetnbeautyfinds90 August 16, 2013 / 10:21 am

        Sounds exciting! I’m sure you meet a lot of cool people! But I would be scared too! So I’m sure you’re not alone in that :)

  4. EatURFruitsNVeggies August 16, 2013 / 10:12 am

    You are going to have the time of your life. Just don’t drink too many pints, and do significant research on youth hostels before you travel.

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 10:20 am

      Thanks for the advice. I’ve definitely heard some horror stories about hostels. I guess like anything you just have to plan ahead including doing your research!

      • EatURFruitsNVeggies August 16, 2013 / 11:10 am

        When approached at a train station in Amsterdam, just say “No, thank you” (in dutch) if you can.

  5. jocelynd123 August 16, 2013 / 10:54 am

    Does moving from Alaska to Chicago alone count? :P But seriously, don’t stress about too much about the small stuff because there will be a lot of resources for students from abroad and you will meet many people willing to help you find your way around, etc. Also, resist the urge to overpack! I ended up packing my whole life into just two suitcases and it made the moving experience (via plane) much easier.

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 11:33 am

      I would say it counts! It’s a big change going from Alaska to Chicago, even if it is still in the same country. Not overpacking is going to be quite the challenge for me because overpacking is pretty much my standby. Sigh. Many things will have to be left behind.

  6. kflowermaquillage August 16, 2013 / 11:12 am

    I think you are so brave to go alone! Don’t worry I’d be scared too. You’ll do great :) have an amazing time in England! I’ve always wanted to go there.

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 11:33 am

      Thank you :) It’s definitely an awesome opportunity. Hopefully, you will get to visit one day soon!

  7. Ashley August 16, 2013 / 11:16 am

    This sounds like a wonderful adventure! I’m so excited for you and think what you are doing is so brave! I don’t think that I would be brave enough to travel overseas alone. Best of luck on your travels!

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 11:35 am

      Thank you, Ashley. I am definitely scared, but I know I can do it and thrive as long as I take the initiative. Also, this time last year I would have never considered study abroad, so who knows, you might be braver than you think ;)

  8. budziak August 16, 2013 / 11:20 am

    I’m not sure moving out of the country for a while is similar to moving out of state but I think the best thing to do is reach out to different groups and make friends. I can get incredibly shy so its hard for me to meet people and that was the biggest issue with my move, I just didn’t know anyone for months and it made me a lot more homesick than it otherwise would have. I moved knowing a majority of people thought I would move back within a few months and knowing I could always go home. Take lots of photos! :-)

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 11:38 am

      I think moving away still counts, regardless of where it is. When I started college, I was really not that great at reaching out to people, and it wasn’t until I really discovered clubs and groups that I really started to find friends. I think it will help that I will be in an apartment with all exchange students, so we will all already have that aspect in common.

      I’ll be posting lots of pictures!

  9. justanotherlisa August 16, 2013 / 11:49 am

    I am so excited for your updates when you get there. England is beautiful! You are so brave to be doing such a bold move but I’m sure the experiences will outweigh the beforehand nerves! :D

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 12:01 pm

      I am definitely excited to incorporate some of my travels into my blog. :) Thanks, Lisa.

  10. EyeOfTheBeholder August 16, 2013 / 1:15 pm

    You’ll get to do all the things you love about a new school year in England. Except instead of looking at the freshmen trying to find their way around, you will also be looking for where your classes are. I myself went to the UK for a 1 year course in 2011- 2012, and I was scared beyond belief the day before I had to leave (full on freak outs, as in: “I’m not going. I’m going to cancel. Why do I do this to myself?”). People also asked me if I was going with a special program or something, but no, I wanted to take a course that wasn’t available to me in Belgium, so I decided to go to the UK. But you will see, 3 months will fly by, and you’ll be sad you won’t be staying longer by the end. Do keep us updated, and don’t worry, it will all be fine! Oh, a big tip for UK living: it’s super easy to buy groceries online at like Asda, Sainsbury or Tesco and they deliver to your door for a little extra. Excellent when you need large or heavy items!

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 3:37 pm

      That’s true. I’ll be like a freshman…in a senior body. lol. I am glad you commented because I don’t really have that many friends who have done study abroad programs so, I am kind of on my own in terms of figuring everything out. Thanks for the tip about the groceries. Do you mind if I email you about some other quick things I was wondering about?

      • EyeOfTheBeholder August 16, 2013 / 6:44 pm

        Of course not, go right ahead! You can find my contact info on my blog.

  11. Debbie August 16, 2013 / 2:15 pm

    I studied abroad in London and it was the best decision I ever made! Some tips: try to stick to a budget. The dollar to pounds ratio is better now than when I went, but its still important to keep track of what you’re spending. Its so much easier to travel once you’re there, so try by train, bus, or plane (Ryan Air). I made friends with a lot of other Americans studying abroad, but don’t forget to make friends with the locals too! I wish I was going again!! Have fun :)

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 3:39 pm

      That’s definitely a good tip. I have been trying to figure out how much I should budget for while I am there. It sucks that I won’t be able to work while abroad, so I am going to have to be frugal. Did you set a budget before you left? I’ve heard good things about public transit in England, which is definitely good to hear!

      • Debbie August 16, 2013 / 9:59 pm

        No, I didn’t set a budget and I definitely should have–which is why I recommended that to you!
        The public transportation system is super efficient and fantastic, but it can get expensive. I was able to get a Student Oyster card while I was there, so check that out and see if it will apply to your situation/needs.
        Also, definitely eat at Pizza Express & Wagamamas if you get the chance! There are obviously tons of great places to eat, but those were two of my favorites :)

  12. Rebecca August 16, 2013 / 3:35 pm

    I haven’t been to Leicester but I know people at the Uni there and they seem to like it. It’s a huge exciting adventure you are embarking on so you are bound to be nervous but you’ll have such an amazing time!

    • Sam August 16, 2013 / 4:03 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca. I’m so excited and nervous at the same time!

  13. thescribblingtrain August 16, 2013 / 8:35 pm

    I’d be scared to go over to America for 3months alone. You’re very brave and you’ll have so much fun. Leicester is a lovely multicultural city, from what I remember, so you’ll be in a cool place! Good luck :)

    • Sam August 17, 2013 / 2:11 pm

      Thank you :) I’m excited to explore all that Leicester has to offer!

  14. Jenn August 16, 2013 / 8:49 pm

    If it makes it any better your technically not going alone. Im sure all of us will be with youin spirit and cant wait to see what you post on your travels and experiences. Im very excited for you amd your are very lucky to be able to do this. I cant wait to see what you put up!

    • Sam August 17, 2013 / 2:12 pm

      Thanks, Jenn. :P I am excited! I definitely won’t have to worry about having stuff to post about for the next three months – lots of content on the way. lol.

  15. daniellearletta August 16, 2013 / 9:05 pm

    Studying abroad is so so exciting. I’m jealous! I was in college for 5 years & hate myself for not taking advantage of that by studying abroad. I didn’t think I could afford it – but I totally could have thanks to fin aid & scholarships. Now I’m off to grad school & I’m DETERMINED to find a way abroad. I wish you the best of luck & I hope you have the most amazing experience!

    • Sam August 17, 2013 / 2:13 pm

      Yeah, I was surprised how financially accessible studying abroad is. In reality, without the personal expenses I will be spending to travel around Europe, this semester will actually be a little cheaper than studying at my university in the US because housing will be a lot cheaper.

  16. nhieubeauty August 17, 2013 / 12:22 am

    I have gone abroad(Asia) to study and work several times, and a few of them, I went alone. It’s scary, but you would learn so much – also about yourself. You’ll find out that you are much stronger than you think. Just the decision of going, makes you stand out as a person that dares to take on challenges and not afraid of adventures, so go girl! It’s all gonna be fine :D

    • Sam August 17, 2013 / 2:15 pm

      Thanks, Maria – that’s nice of you to say. :) It’s nice hearing from people that have been through similar experiences and hearing how much everyone has enjoyed their time abroad!

  17. producthoochie August 17, 2013 / 8:28 am

    I did not study abroad but I have traveled alone. I loved it! You will meet people quickly and London is a fantastic city- there is so much to offer.

    • Sam August 17, 2013 / 2:16 pm

      I will be about an hour north of London by train, so I will definitely be making a few trips down there. :)!

  18. carminareyes August 17, 2013 / 2:43 pm

    I hope you’ll be able to go around Europe! It’s a fantastic continent. If you have any questions about travelling around the continent, let me know! :)

    • Sam August 17, 2013 / 3:28 pm

      Will do! Thanks for your help :)

  19. klyse3 August 18, 2013 / 3:37 pm

    This sounds exactly like how I felt leaving for my first year of college! And I was staying in States, in the same town as some of my family…but away from home. I’m sure you will love it though! That is a terrific opportunity. :)

    • Sam August 19, 2013 / 2:39 pm

      Change is always scary, no matter how big it is! I am definitely excited for it though!

  20. Chriss August 19, 2013 / 7:35 am

    I can definitely understand that you’re feeling scared, I would be too! It’s kind of a weird idea that you’ll be so close to where I live in a month (I live in The Netherlands, just across the sea!) ;) It must be a stressful period for you now, so good luck, and I’m sure everything will work out fine.

    • Sam August 19, 2013 / 2:41 pm

      It will definitely be weird! Now, when someone says they are living in Europe, I can be like – me too! It’s definitely stressful, but traveling always involves a bit of stress!

  21. lifewithlondon August 19, 2013 / 4:29 pm

    I bet you’ll have an amazing time. You’re going to study, too, so you’ll meet tonnes of people in the same situation as you – and I’ll bet you’ll be friends with them for life. Good luck!

    • Sam August 19, 2013 / 4:31 pm

      True. I’m so excited, but nervous at the same time. It’ll be such an experience though!

  22. SciMoWi August 20, 2013 / 5:58 am

    While I was studying I came to US (from Finland) for half a year. Totally awesome decision, even though I left my family, friends, fiancee and cats behind. But they all were here when I came back and even though I missed all of them, I did enjoy my exchange period and have never regretted it!

    You’ll meet tons of people in the same situation and making friends is easier than normally. Travel a lot and enjoy your time! :)

    • Sam August 20, 2013 / 8:09 am

      Wow – that must have been tough to leave your fiancee in addition to all your friends and family. Thanks for commenting. It definitely makes me feel better to hear that making friends was easy for people and, they enjoyed their trip so much.

  23. CarlaofCourse August 20, 2013 / 2:09 pm

    Ah you’ll love it, we’re a friendly bunch over here :-) Throw yourself into it, head over to Boots for a good cosmetics shop and you’ll be fine

  24. Carina August 21, 2013 / 5:04 am

    Ahhh I can’t wait for your posts (assuming you will post about your experiences, which I’m hoping you will)! It’s frakking scary, but I bet you’ll have a grand time. :)

  25. MamaBear August 21, 2013 / 5:29 pm

    It’s normal to be a little scared and anxious but you are going to have a fabulous time! My first trip abroad totally changed my life. Enjoy every moment of your time there! Can’t wait to read about all of your adventures!

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