A Blog by a concerned but optimistic student on the ups and downs of the pre-departure
A Blog by a concerned but optimistic student on the ups and downs of the pre-departure.
I won’t lie to you, my emotions about this forthcoming year abroad have shot up and down more times than a hormonal newly teen; it’s like being 15 all over again. Some mornings I feel like I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life on record but the next morning I can’t pack my bags quick enough to leave for that ever looming train journey to the south of France; To be specific Grenoble. I won’t know which feeling is accurate until the day I arrive there: alone, by myself, in a completely alien environment with new people speaking a foreign language eating different foods with a different cultural attitude to life than me. All in all it is safe to say I am absolutely ‘bricking it’.
Not to mention whilst travelling my journey stops briefly at the Paris Metro to exchange not twice but three trains in order to reach my final destination (if I manage to make it) with what I know will be 50kg plus of luggage to drag behind me. I have a very real image of myself huddled in a corner in the Paris underground having missed the transfer train wondering how the hell I am going to make it out of that maze. But that really is my mind running away with the anxiety of it.
I don’t know about anyone else but the thought of arriving at my arranged accommodation and having them say ‘sorry we can’t find you on the system’ triggers my gag reflex. But again I have all the documents and when I say I’ve checked them I am lying- I have studied them in precise detail back to front even taking it to the extent of revising and testing myself; I may as well have made wallpaper out of them in my whole house so essentially I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The funny thing is I was never paranoid before this year abroad.
The other half of my brain is constantly having to tell me to ‘calm down and stop being an absolute psychopath’ because I will lose the plot if I carry on. I like this part of my brain because it often tells me how amazing this experience will be; sometimes I even believe it. When I evaluate the opportunity this is, it really is rather incredible and I want to grasp at it with both hands and just go for it without looking back and do everything in my power to take every ounce of culture and life experience I can from it. In fact I’ve made a ‘Grenoble Bucket list’ similar to what I had done for Exeter to ensure that I do and see everything I want in the time I have in those surroundings. I have to admit at first I was sceptical; I thought it would be another one of those in the moment things that would never really last, but it was completely the opposite. It became a challenge in my life and I have to admit I was more focused on crossing everything off the list than revising my course. By the end of second year in Exeter though I had done my fair share of sightseeing. Even my friends joined me for a lot of it and were surprised at some of the amazing places I had found. So I look forward to starting a new chapter and a new list in the hope that I find some hidden gems in Grenoble. Don’t waste a second I would say and I hope that attitude stays with me for the duration of my stay. My fingers are crossed and I look forward to the future.
Written by Charlotte Evans