Feel the Fear and Move Forward: Preparing to Study in Spain

Julia Chernicky is a student at the University of Pittsburgh and an ISA Featured Blogger. Julia is currently studying abroad with ISA in Málaga, Spain.


Málaga is at the southern point of Spain in Andalucía (Image from The Map Shop)

It is fun to think about where we will be in a year, 10 years, 30 years, 50 years. Who knows? In only two short weeks, however, I can say for certain that I will be on a plane destined for Spain. At times I think “Let’s get this party started!” Then, a bit later, I think “whoa, I have a list of people I do not know, will stay with a random family’s home that I will share for a few months, will attend a school I am unfamiliar with, and will have to communicate using a language I do not speak. Oh and I have to fit my closet into a 25-inch suitcase. What am I doing?” I would be lying if I said I was not scared, terrified really. But if you ask me in person how I feel, I will just reply that I’m excited. “Excited” is a good blanket term for all the emotions I am feeling right now.

I expect every student that goes abroad has this same feeling of anxiety; it is fear of the unknown. I realize it is not a bad thing. The nervous fear tells me that I have found my limits; I have only gone this far before. I have been abroad before but only with my family. Now I am going on my own and facing a new challenge. I am pushing my boundaries, literally and figuratively. And a year from now, struggling with nostalgia, I will be able to say, “This time last year, I was just getting ready to leave.”

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” – Gail Sheehy

7 replies »

  1. I’m having these feelings now and I’m not even going any time soon. I hope to in a few years though. But on the bright side, you’re fear is shaping you into a new person. You’re taking a leap outside your comfort zone and that inside is a remarkable thing. I bid you luck into you’re new journey and I wish you safe travels.


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