I know I can’t, but maybe I’ll just try…
I can’t study abroad. I can’t.
I almost had to repeat it to myself like a lunatic to keep from looking at the posters: “Study Abroad: Spring 2013! Apply Now!”
I wanted to experience an adventure like that, to invest in myself, to grow, learn, and love more deeply than I could ever imagine. But I couldn’t. I didn’t have the means and to look into the opportunity even just a little seemed like I would be betraying my family and putting them under stress. So I didn’t.
I decided I would help lead a medical brigade in Tena, Ecuador instead. 11 days is nothing compared to 5months, but it didn’t matter–I would be leaving the country, helping those in need, and doing something that woud help me develop as a person. It’d be a fix, at the least.
I resent that I thought about this brigade in such a devalued way, but to a dreamer with no means, it would be fine. It would be great. And I would have to handle that I would never live abroad as a student. And that was fine.
With preparations for the TImmy Global Health Brigade underway, I was plenty busy and very excited for an opportunity that my university helped me fund. I was grateful, excited, and could not believe that I would have a hand in planning it and making it a reality.
And then, I saw the sign again. “It’s not too late to study abroad for the Spring Semester of 2013! Apply Now!” SERIOUSLY? Their advertising techniques because phenomenal all of a sudden and I was immediately impressed and bitter at the same time. Then came…
Darn it! I have to look into it. I have to look into studying abroad… for me.
I made a meeting and another and another and another x 100. I talked to the offices available to me and kept telling them, “I have no means, but I thought I should at least try.” I completed tons of applications, scholarship requests, forms, had hours of meetings, and more. And you know what, it didn’t seem 100% impossible. Maybe, just maybe, this could work. A process that most people do a year before they go abroad was started and completed within months just months before I MIGHT go abroad. The real kicker: the national scholarship that I would need to study abroad didn’t announce the scholarship receivers until mid-December. This would mean that I’d have about a month to prepare to study abroad IF I received it and other scholarships. Remember, kids, I had nothing to pay for this.
And then amazing things happened: My friend’s family said they’d sponsor me. I was touched. They said whether I got the scholarships or not, they’d cover me. I was going.
What did I do? I yelled at my friend, sobbed, and was very confused. ( I know I sound crazy, but this was amazingly strange to me.) Why? Why on earth would they invest thousands and thousands of dollars in me? The answer: they’re kind-hearted Indian parents who believe in these kinds of opportunities for their son’s friends. THIS IS WHY I WANT TO BE INDIAN!!!
Anyway, I used this as motivation to work even harder to find more options. I didn’t want them to pay so much for me, but it was a phenomenal back-up plan. And then something else happened: I received the National Gilman Scholarship and another scholarship from my school.
THE SECOND REALIZATION:
It was all paid for. I would be studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in about a month.
This is was my exhausted reaction. You know, a realization may seem like a moment, but I’m learning more and more that it’s a process. Maybe that’s just life: realizing what you have, what you want, and how to get there.
So I guess I was wrong: I could study abroad. With the help of so many people, I would be studying abroad.
It’s Not Impossible.