Written by Danielle Slaughter, Summer London Veritas student from UMKC! Check out her program here!
In a little over a month, it will have been one year since I jumped on a plane and went to London for the summer. I never figured I would miss it as much as I do. Every time I sit down with a cup of tea, crave a McVities digestive or scone, or watch any show or movie with the London cityscape, I miss it dearly. This had been made worse by the fact that I’ve recently started watching the show, Downton Abbey.
Oh, pardon me –let me introduce myself. My name is Danielle, and I’m a recent college graduate from the University of Missouri –Kansas City [UMKC] with a B.A. in English and a minor in creative writing. I currently reside in Saint Louis, Missouri, interning with the magazine Tokyo Journal.
For those of you who don’t know me, which I’m assuming is most of you reading this, I’ll inform you that I tend to be terrible at making decisions –the greater the impact the decision has on my life, the tougher it is for me to make. I also tend to be a very routine person, who doesn’t usually enjoy spontaneity. In short, I’m a planner. So how did I of all people end up deciding to study abroad?
The short answer? I’ve always wanted to go to London. There’s such a rich history there, and I thought it would be a good first trip abroad. Pretty simple, right?
But then there’s the long answer. I felt lead to go there. That’s the cool thing about being a Christian –God is always working in the background, even when we don’t think He is. It really is amazing. I felt like I needed to experience a big change, to dive into something headfirst without looking back –and I did.
Don’t get me wrong, I went back and forth a lot. I was scared. Trusting God isn’t usually easy, but it’s so necessary. We have to learn how to lean on Him when things are too much for us to handle. He’s more than capable of doing this, and we reap the benefits.
So, for those of you who are like me, here’s a few things to remember about studying abroad for the first time.
- Knowing you can do something (even if you never do it again) is awesome.
When I flew to London, it was a plethora of firsts. It was my first flight alone. It was my first international flight. It was also the longest flight I’ve ever been on. It was terrifying, to say the least. Even though I’m not sure if I ever want to travel alone again, I’m really glad I did it. Now, I know I can fly alone if I need to. Having experiences like that in your arsenal is really encouraging.
- Being independent is pretty great.
While I certainly became independent when I moved to Kansas City, living in central London caused me to become even more so. I was forced to learn an entirely new city, essentially by myself. I had to figure things out without someone constantly holding my hand. Kansas City seems a lot less intimidating in comparison to London.
- It’s a necessary evil to be pushed out of your comfort zone.
As I said earlier, I’m not a very spontaneous person. Going to London was the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I got incredibly homesick when I first got there, and I wasn’t even sure if I could stay. I’m a creature of habit: I wake up around the same time every day, eat the same foods, do the same workouts, and go to sleep at the same time. Needless to say, London wrecked my schedule. It was tough to find a rhythm. However, forcing myself to do something like this has given me a lot of confidence. I’m so glad I did it, and I would do it all over again.
Here’s the cool part of all this. I have the chance to study abroad again when I get to graduate school; my church is planning new mission trips for the year. I might get to go back to London, or maybe even somewhere else. I would have never known I was capable of anything like this if I hadn’t taken that first step. I encourage you to take yours –enjoy wherever you end up.
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