Mar Garcia ‘23
Overcoming Doubts about Study Abroad
I always knew I wanted to study abroad. I jumped for joy when I learned I would be going to my first choice program in Venice, Italy during the spring semester of my junior year. That summer before junior year I was ready to go. I couldn’t believe I had to go back to Boston College for an entire semester before finally getting to go to Italy. I absolutely love my life at BC, but I felt I was ready for this next adventure! However, I came back to school and had my best semester yet. After being restricted for a year during the pandemic, we all finally felt like we were back to having fun, meeting new people, and being normal again. I loved my classes, my roommates, and my new friends so much that when the last week of class came along, I was about to cancel my spot abroad. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my life here behind for a semester to go to a place where I didn’t know anyone.
However, my parents and other important people in my life really pushed me to go and didn’t let me get paralized by fear; so before I knew it, I was on a plane to Venice, and then on a boat (yes, a boat) to my new home. If you think moving is hard, try carrying three overweight suitcases over the Rialto Bridge and navigating through tourists, alleys, and piazzas to an apartment thirty minutes away. In case you’re wondering, this is where I came up with my wonderful idea to make Uber boats a thing.
Our first day of class, we all missed the vaporetto (water bus) to orientation, so I spent some time with the other BC students in my program. Looking back now, I realize I shouldn’t have been so surprised to hear that we were all going through it that first week. Talking to each other, we learned two very important things. One, everything takes time. We had just shipped ourselves halfway across the world with no friends and family to a country where we don’t speak the language. It was understandable that we take some time to get used to it. Secondly, we learned that we were in this together. As a family, we were able to figure out public transportation, grocery shopping, weekend trips, and making new friends from all over the world in our program, some of whom I still keep in touch with today.
No one talks about how hard the first few days of study abroad are, but I learned that taking the time to check in on yourself and figure out what will work for you is worth it. I am proud to say that last semester I met some of my best friends, traveled to some of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and gained an understanding of the world in and outside the classroom that I could have never imagined. Most importantly, it opened my mind to new opportunities and ideas that I have implemented in my everyday life since I’ve been back. If you’re reading this and are scared to go abroad, I want you to know we’ve all been there, but you should give yourself some credit and go for it. I promise everything will turn out just fine.
Mar Garcia '23