By: Molly Goodwin
Living in the same town your whole life, you might think: I know this city inside and out, like the back of my hand, there’s no point in going somewhere completely new, learn a whole new lifestyle, get used to a new town. Or, like me, you may think: I gotta get the heck out of here! Other places have always interested me, knowing that there are several thousand different cities within the 50 states that are awaiting new tourists and citizens. There are almost endless possibilities within the United States. I was 19 years old when I applied to study abroad. It was a huge step for me. I love being close to friends and family, and Europe was 5,000 or so miles away from something I’ve been used to my entire life. I wasn’t 100% okay with the idea of being that far away for almost half a year; it seemed scary. I’ve never moved outside of my hometown. I’ve never stayed in another city or state for more than two weeks. This was the biggest step I’d ever taken in my life. I have always wanted to live outside of Evansville, and even out of Indiana. But out of my own country? That was almost insane to me. Was I doing the right thing? Will I even enjoy myself there? What if I don’t belong? These three questions, including several others, raced through my head daily, just waiting to hear if I was accepted or not into Harlaxton. A few months after applying, in mid-October I received an email from an adviser at Harlaxton. I was hesitant to open. If I was accepted, I would be living in Europe. If not, I’d continue my life in Evansville. It was an acceptance letter. My heart was racing, I was both ecstatic and nervous. I immediately went to Facebook and decided to share this life-changing event, I received so many positive comments and encouragements. One important factor that helped me believe Harlaxton was the perfect choice for me was that my mother, when she was in college, attended Harlaxton and loved it. If there was one school my parents wanted me to go to, it was Harlaxton. I knew I would be in good hands. My fellow classmates would be from the states, so we’d all be going through the same thing: culture shock and homesickness. For some people, homesickness hit them right away, practically the moment they walked into the school, or got off the plane in London. For some people, it still hasn’t hit yet. For me, it is just now hitting. I know getting culture shock two months into the semester can be a little late. I’m just now realizing how far away I am from family, because I’ve been gone for this long. I realize that it can be difficult to communicate with them every day due to the extensive 6 hour time difference. That hits me pretty hard. It’s also hard to talk to friends and my boyfriend.
Though he is only 5 hours ahead, versus 6 from my friends and family, it’s still difficult. I’ll be waking up for the day, and they’ll be going to bed or already asleep. I’ll be going to bed and they will be sitting down and eating dinner. It’s hard. If I could give any advice, always take the opportunity to study abroad. Even if it’s for a few weeks, a summer, or a month or two. Getting to live in another country has been extremely beneficial for me. I had no idea what England was like before I came here. Now, I am learning a whole different culture and it’s an amazing experience. I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do, travel the world. Once you’re in Europe, you can travel to other countries for as low as £10. That’s an incredible price. You can even learn cultures of non-English speaking countries. For example, I traveled to Denmark, where most of their language is Danish. Sure, we had to use Google translate, but it was incredible to learn about a whole other culture and environment. Though you might be far from the ones you love, technology is advancing so much: you have Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and endless other apps that will let you video chat or text family and friends. Take this opportunity, because there’s a huge chance you won’t get to do something as incredible as this again.