For the past few months as I have been preparing to move abroad, I couldn’t help but feel a range of emotions. Some days I would feel incredibly excited, while other days I would be more nervous than ever. It seemed as though my year abroad was a dream, something that I could only imagine and aspire to achieve but fail to experience. I mean, I knew it was a mandatory and attractive component to my program since day one, when I applied to Sprott all those years ago, but that aspect just seemed so surreal to me.
It’s now been 3.5 years since I accepted my offer, 3.5 years of internationally focused business courses and Spanish classes and it is now time that I pack my bags. With the countdown getting smaller each day, I can’t believe that it is actually happening. That I am actually going to uproot my life, leaving behind everything I know, everyone I love and move to another part of the world for an entire year.
As I’ve been checking off items on my to-do list, I’ve learned something very important about this whole situation; I can’t be scared. I just can’t. I have to be willing to step out of my comfort zone and have no worry in the world. The second I get scared, is the second I will begin to close my mind and close myself off from opportunity and adventure. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed an abundance of people who have maybe, not intentionally but it sure feels like it, trying to scare me. From telling me what vaccines I need, what clothes I should and shouldn’t wear, the list goes on exponentially.
Sure, Colombia has it’s history of crime, drugs, etc. but bad things happen everywhere. As long as I’m aware of my surroundings and carry some common sense, I’ll be fine. It’s also kind of ridiculous for some individuals to make comments about a country they’ve never been to, nor have been researching as extensively as I have since March 2016.
I remember going into the travel clinic at Riverside Hospital in Ottawa to get my yellow fever shot (p.s. this was a super easy shot! didn’t hurt!) and the nurse began to lecture me about an abundance of other shots and medication I should be getting. She then proceeded to bring in the doctor who gave me his two-cents about all the different diseases I could get. And to be honest, it was all a load of crap and essentially a money grab. Sorry not sorry Doc, but your marketing ploy of inducing fear into my mind did not work. I completed my research far before I met you, talked to my friends from Colombia and made my decision.
I simply don’t understand how some people can be so scared of the unknown, of all the ‘what ifs’ of the world. The world is an incredible place with so much to see and do, so many different cultures are out there just waiting to be experienced. And this is all coming from me, a girl who has never travelled to a foreign country before. Someone who’s only experienced the extremely weird culture that is senior-land Florida.
I’m obviously no travel expert but I’m learning something new each day. So if you’re reading this and you are nervous for me to jump on a plane and enter the unknown, please know that I’ve prepared for this and I am ready to do this.