Monday, February 18, 2008

Study Abroad Musings...

...sure to be the first of many posts like this

(this and the two previous posts were written over the course of the past few days but all posted at once due to lack of internet access.)

I’m back from bowling with a still-sore ankle, and I’m about to head off to sleep. I’ve been giving some thought to the way I’ve felt since I arrived, since it’s not the typical “wahoo this is amazing!” nor was I expecting that to be my first reaction. I think the issue right now is that it’s hard upon first arriving to feel like I’ve got any sort of connection to any of the other students around me. I know that in time I’ll come upon some great friends and be involved in activities and classes, and that those things will help me feel like I belong. But for now it’s a lot of new faces in a strange city, and it gets both overwhelming and lonely at the same time. At least having the Jewish community nearby makes a huge difference. As I rode the tram to the suburbs on Friday and saw the signs start saying things like “Sabra Falafel” and “Drs. Roseberg and Stern,” I knew I was in the right place and that there are people like me here, too. It’s comforting to know that no matter how big and scary the world is, I’m able to find a community to connect with and feel at home with as soon as I arrive. That bubble had to burst on Saturday night, though, when I was thrust back into the study-abroad-student world as I arrived back to Newman for the night. It just feels like I keep having to work hard at being friendly and making conversation, kinda like freshman orientation at Penn. Then, I knew that I’d most likely never see any of those people again, and I’d already had a chance to make some of my own friends. I feel the same way about this experience, except without the comfort zone of friends, so I guess the best solution is to be myself and ride it out and just take in what’s around me. It’s pretty neat stuff we’re doing, albeit exhausting, so I just have to take each moment as it comes. I guess what’s also weird about this is not actually having anything else that I need to do. I come back at night and just kinda shrug my shoulders and get ready for bed, since I don’t have a long list of responsibilities, nor do I have an internet connection to open up the boundaries of communication with my world back at home, which I miss terribly. I really have nothing to do other than be part of this program, which really only lasts two more days, but I’ll be happy to move into my own place on Tuesday and start setting that up, because at least it’ll give me something to do. And hopefully that’ll mean I’ll have internet as well.

So here’s to optimism, and here’s to a good night’s sleep!

1 comment:

Becca said...

optimism and a good nights sleep... i think they're of equal importance in life. i'm happy to hear its going well, and can't wait to hear about more adventures!