As an incoming college freshman I was certain that I wanted to study abroad sometime during my college career but, at the time “study abroad” seemed more of a future mirage rather than a planned set trip. Now as the countdown to my adventure has turned from years, into months, and now into weeks I have to admit that my anticipated excitement has been somewhat muffled by my anxiety of the unknown. My life home at my college campus is a happy fulfilled one and I can’t help but be slightly overwhelmed as I come to terms with leaving that happy life for a semester in Aix. Despite my hesitations, I have complete faith that the experiences, excitement, relationships and adventure which await me in Aix will be well worth all the nerves and worries that I wrestle during my final weeks before departure. My journey to prepare for Aix has seemed like a long one and I know that these final weeks of preparation will not be exempt from stress as I await the completion of my visa application, anticipate the assignment of my home stay family, pack, and figure out last minute travel arrangements.

 Applying for my visa application has been a learning experience and I am still left a little bewildered wondering if I truly completed the application correctly. The afternoon of my visa application appointment my mom and I went to Boston carrying my collected documents, passport and application processing fee. After a bit of waiting my name was called and I was able to deliver my application, take what I’m sure are some very unflattering passport style photos, and even be fingerprinted. Currently, I am waiting to receive clearance on my application and have been diligently checking my application’s status on the consulate website. Ultimately my advice to any student visiting a consulate would be to bring someone with you. Although it is only the person applying for the visa who is allowed into the appointment, it is still helpful to have a friend or relative there to support you.

I wish I could throw all caution to the wind and be wild enough to completely embrace the adventure that Aix will bring but I’m not quite that girl. So, as I finish my summer and prepare for the upcoming semester I can only seem to relay my emotions in following analogy. I feel as though my semester abroad is a giant water slide. Although I am a huge fan of water slides, I hate waiting in line and, I often feel a familiar pit occur in my stomach as I await the plunge. Packing, applying, and visas have all been a part of the waiting and have brought on the familiar pit. Now as the waiting is almost over I am ready for the pit to disappear and ready to ride the water slide which is my study abroad.