12 Hours and Counting
In exactly 12 hours, (3 AM ET) I will be waking up to drive 3 hours to the airport. From there, I will be spending the next two days traveling to Auckland, New Zealand. Although we are on the exciting side of my pre-departure preparations, the months leading up to my travels have been all but uneventful.
My home university, Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC has been great to me. It is four and a half hour drive to the small, beautiful campus. People are friendly, Southern, and studious. However, since February, I have been preparing to go somewhere entirely different from my small, private school–the University of Auckland.
In some ways, it feels like freshman year all over again. I’m nervous about making new friends and making sure I packed everything I need. As a first-generation student, adjusting to college life was especially scary two years ago. My parents were definitely helpful in the process, but they didn’t know exactly what to expect. Transitioning to another country is a whole new adventure for us!
Fortunately, my brother spent last year abroad in Germany, so our family is somewhat experienced with sending one of us across the globe. Nonetheless, we are certainly facing a whole new set of concerns. First off, I have never flown alone, especially not internationally. Luckily, my flight out of LAX is with a group from the program. IFSA-Butler has also sent SO many emails and newsletters that I should have no problems traveling (other than sleep deprivation and unbearable excitement).
Undoubtedly, my other major concern is adjusting to a new culture! Acclimating to Wake Forest was an interesting experience. From Jack Rogers to Lily Pulitzer, there is definitely a culture shock that comes with attending a college brimming with old money and overly-accomplished students. I am not sure exactly what to expect at my new university, though I know I will be encountering far more diversity. I am hoping the program orientation will be an effective way for me to meet some of my new “classmates” and truly start understanding what kind of adventure awaits me these next few months.
For my dwindling last day at home, I am going to continue going over my packing list, struggling to contain my nervous excitement, and listening to six60.