Today marks 100 days until I embark on the voyage that will forever change the person I am and the person I hope to become. I graduated from high school only last year, but even then I would have never pictured myself preparing for this journey. Embarking on the Semester at Sea program is not only an esteemed and amazing abroad experience, but it is also very costly – I would have never imagined this kind of experience possible, and it was in my wildest dreams to explore the world. It is only through hard work and generous awards from the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program, Institute for Shipboard Education, and Diversity Abroad that I am able to afford this opportunity. As the days count down I continue to be blessed and there isn’t a moment where I am not grateful for it.
Preparing for this study abroad experience requires a lot of work in itself, consisting of different tasks that I have been working on ever since the first semester of my freshmen year. Over the past few months I have worked on getting all requirements from my university and Semester at Sea completed; this ranges from getting courses approved to filling out agreement forms to getting a passport and the Brazilian visa. As the days count down and embarkation date approaches, I grow more and more excited for the adventure that awaits. This week I have registered for courses (which was entirely too stressful due to the system crashing from all the eager students logging in) as well as booked my flights to London on September 10th.
My future peers have already become acquainted with each other through the Facebook group and I feel like we are already a family – sharing excitement and eagerness for the upcoming voyage. I am nervous that I will find some difficulty adjusting and making good friends, but already I have connected to so many students across the states. I am excited to meet them all, collectively being impatient together only intensifies my feelings for the voyage.
My suitcases remain empty and I haven’t even faced the many things I will be leaving behind for 100 days at sea. My always amazing mother and family who have always supported me, my loving friends (who seem to all have birthdays in the fall and winter), and my home will all be missed. In 100 days I will be leaving them all behind to discover myself and the world, but I don’t doubt that they will be waiting with open arms for my return. Nonetheless, I spend every day trying not to think about Semester at Sea only to find myself glue to subject.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever wanted summer to actually end!