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

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” -Dr. Seuss —– Oh yes, yes indeed.

“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”-Dr. Seuss

Packing…oh my god I need to pack. I swear I don’t have any clothes…KOALAS! OH MY GOD!!! I GET TO MEET A KOALA!!! Oh crap…14 hour plane ride. IlovethebeachIlovethebeachIlovethebeach. 4 and a half months…that’s a realllyyyy long time to be away from home…and my friends…and my family…I GET TO BE IN AUSTRALIA TIL’ NOVEMBER!!!! Kangaroo burgers… Spiders….HUGE spiders…I won’t survive….

Exhilarating excitement. Consuming anticipation. Constant nervousness. Overwhelming anxiety. And my mind continues to race.

 Hi! My name is Alysha. I’m a junior at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania and I am studying biology. I’m a lover of science, the great outdoors, abstract art, traveling, mountain hiking, beach bumming, learning, discovering, great conversations and of course spending time with my family and friends. As I’m preparing for my semester abroad at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, I couldn’t help but parallel a number of my pre-departure feelings to the very popular and beloved “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess. The man was truly genius.

“You’re on your own.  And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” –Dr. Seuss

It didn’t seem real. Having the opportunity to go abroad through Susquehanna University’s GO Program…filling out the applications last fall….getting accepted into the program…and finding I had approximately 60 days of summer at home before leaving for Australia at the conclusion of my spring semester sophomore year. In a little less than 2 weeks, I will find myself for the very first time in my life boarding a plane in Harrisburg, PA and heading off on an adventure….alone. No parents to guide me through the airports. No friends to joke with for the duration of trip. All of a sudden the trip of my dreams is starting to become the source of all my anxieties. Yes, I am, in fact, slightly terrified. I am on my own. This is the adult world at it’s very best.

“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true and Hang-ups can happen to you.”-Dr. Seuss

I didn’t know exactly how I’d feel right before leaving. I talked to a bunch of friends a few months ago who had been abroad, and they all had different experiences. Some felt homesick right when they arrived, others it took a couple months. And yet, they all agreed that at times you would in fact be completely miserable adjusting to your new environment. Yet, in the end, they said the entire abroad experience was entirely life-changing and they’d go back in a heart-beat.

I think one of my friends said it best. He told me that studying abroad would be some of the best times of my life and also some of the worst times of my life. However, in the end, you would find out who you really are. In my mind, that’s truly invaluable. So, with this being said, I hold on to this idea as these weeks progress and I start having feelings of dread of being away from home and sadness in saying goodbye to my friends and family. I know, however, that being away from all the influences and normality will allow me to grow as an individual and find out more about my passions in life.

“All Alone! Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.” –Dr. Suess

I was so excited. For everything. Leaving. Being on my own. Being in AUSTRALIA. Finding out who I am. And then I remembered…. I’m leaving the only place I’ve ever really known. I won’t have the conveniences I’m used to having. And, most of all, the distance is cutting me off from the friends and family I know and love-well, except for the phone calls, Skype and emails (but we all really know it isn’t the same as being with the people you love). And this is where I start to panic. I have already begun to say my goodbyes to some of my closest friends and family. And as much as everyone tells me I will be able to make friends and not have any issues, I can’t help but think that at times I will feel completely alone in what I am going through.

“Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?” –Dr. Seuss 

And yet, I know I have to do this. I’ve always wanted to do this. I have so much to look forward to and see and do. I mean, how many people get to say they were able to go abroad for a full semester and actually live in a new country for over four months? I know that I will have the time of my life. It’s truly just a matter of having confidence in myself to be on my own and to recognize that I am only temporarily leaving the life I’ve ever known to create new memories for myself. I truly feel like I can only gain positive things in my life from embarking on this trip. Australia, here I come!

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” –Dr. Seuss



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