Saturday, December 29, 2012

As this day, and 2012, draws to a close, I find myself at 17 days until departure. The whole thing is still pretty surreal...this happened the last time I went abroad. Last summer, when my family took a trip to Germany and two years ago, when I traveled to India, I didn't believe the trip was actually going to happen until our planes touched down at the foreign airports. Of course the major difference is that this time I'm going to be alone. Even when I went to India without my parents, I still had two teachers from my high school accompanying us, and while in New Delhi, we were kept on a tight leash. But now I find myself in a situation of freedom, like that I am granted at W&M, except in a completely different country. Will I have the same excitements, the same worries? What is going to be different and what is going to be the same? I don't know. I guess that's part of the fun--charging into this new adventure. That being said, there are quite a few things that I wish I had been more fully informed about going home for winter break.

We have a wonderful study abroad office at school that affords us many amazing opportunities to travel, study, and experience. But I have a few bones to pick with these people. I recognize the fact that we are technically adults. Yes. Ok, good. Yet, at the same time, we are also still very young and most of us have never lived in another country before. In the midst of finals, Christmas, and whatever else, I wasn't thinking of, say what type of converter plugs I would need for my electronics. And there's more. Visas, for example. Please don't give me the information on how to apply for it three days before I'm supposed to shlep to the Embassy.

I know that it isn't enough to just rant about things...I've decided I'm compiling a list of things that I wish I had known about a month ago:

1. Visas (How to fill out the form, how to apply, when to pick it up--because what it says on the form isn't true!)
2. Converter plugs (Turns out, its just a standard two-prong)
3. Fashion (I don't want to stick out like TOURIST or AMERICAN)
4. What to Bring/What not to Bring (PLEASE GIVE THIS TO US!)
5. A finite list of recommended options for money (Alright, I guess this one isn't "required," but it would still be nice)

More to come, of course. Worry not, fellow student travelers and future travelers, I will do my part to make preparations easier!