Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Goodbyes

Hi everyone!  The introduction that belongs here doesn’t have to be too long, since a lot of basic information about me is already on the blog, but I want to start with a few details about myself.  Most importantly, I am going to England because I love the country for both its culture and physical beauty.  When I was living in Chile for a few months between my junior and senior years of high school, I met an English woman who told me that I seemed a lot more English than American.  She couldn’t have possibly realized how much she had intrigued me.  Upon my return to Vermont I immediately went to the bookstore and bought a book about English culture to see if I agreed with her.   Whether or not I am actually more English than American, I did find a lot of things in that book that I liked, and between my freshman and sophomore years in college I went farming in Oxfordshire through WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).  Despite my expectations of England, which I considered to be unrealistically high when I left the states, the experience was better than I thought it would be.  After last summer I was sure of what I’d considered a possibility for years – that I wanted to study abroad for a year at Oxford during my junior year in college.  The longer I had in the country, the more time I would have to adjust to and learn about the culture that I liked so much.

I really liked farming and the people who owned my host farm, so I’m going to go back to the farm for two and a half weeks before Butler’s orientation in London.  Hopefully this will not only be enjoyable but also give me a chance to adjust to being in a new country before I have to adjust to being at Oxford.  But as I prepare for my flight to England on Monday, I am aware that previous experience in the country and an adjustment period on the farm can’t prevent my leaving Vermont from being a little bittersweet.  I have experienced an extremely small amount of homesickness in my life, despite going on many trips without my family.  But knowing that I won’t see my hometown of Montpelier for an entire year – the longest I’ve ever been away from it – is a little sad, especially because I feel like I’m really leaving my childhood behind this time.  I also don’t really know what England will bring me, despite my positive expectations.  I have a few concerns about England, one of which is making English friends.  I am excited to live with international students because it’s going to be interesting to meet people from all around the world, but at the same time I do want to feel as immersed in English culture as possible.  Also, I know that pub culture is huge in England, and this worries me a little since I have hardly any experience with drinking.  On the other hand, I know that my time in Oxford has a lot of potential to define the rest of my life despite, or even because of, the things I am unsure about.  For example, right now I’m thinking that I might want to be an editor of books for children and young adults, and after studying almost exclusively English for an entire year I will probably have a better idea whether that’s really what I want to do.  The people that I meet are also likely to influence my life after Oxford in many different ways.  Finally, those who know me will attest to the fact that, while I get good enough grades to get into Oxford, I am just plain stupid when it comes to anything practical.  I suck at navigating through cities.  I can make a grand total of one dish and a few desserts for food (and that dish is pasta).  Up until a few years ago I didn’t know the difference between debit and credit.  This is a great opportunity for me to change all that.  Will I look like an idiot during the learning process?  Probably.  But I’ll just have to get over caring about that.

So, despite the fact that I don’t know what is about to happen to me at all, I’m actually not nervous about England in the least.  I’m sure my neuroticism will kick in once I arrive, but I’m confident that I’ll be able  to deal with it and move on once I’ve adjusted to the university and made some friends.  I have a lot to look forward to – aside from Oxford, I also have the opportunity to travel Europe, which I’ve been dying to do for as long as I can remember.

For the past few weeks my life has become an odd and vaguely unsatisfying mixture of paralyzing boredom and the frantic purchasing of necessary clothes, electronic devices, luggage, chocolate (just because), and much more.  My room, which is normally spotless, is currently a mess of “I’ll just put it on my desk/dresser/chair to make sure I remember to bring it to England.”  My suitcase is almost up to my hip, and that’s just one of pieces of luggage I’m bringing, but I won’t start packing until Saturday.  Until then, I’ll continue talking to my friends until the wee hours of the morning to massage my brain back to normal after researching British cell phone companies all day in my room.

I can’t wait to write in this blog all year, and I’ll be adding photos too!  I’ll write a brief post soon after I arrive at the farm.  Bye for now!

Ari

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