On My Decision to Study Abroad (Predeparture)

A Tale of the Soul


“It was the best of times,

It was the worst of times.”


The summer before departing to Scotland for nine months has been the most exciting yet challenging part of my life, a prelude to my adventure! Packing in working as much as I can to earn money for the year, spending tons of time with loved ones and trying to research and read as much as I can about Scotland has been a busy three months.

Saving my earnings this summer has been particularly difficult, as there are so many opportunities to spend money in the summertime, but I have been doing pretty well. I urge anyone considering studying abroad to apply for scholarships ASAP, they are crucial if you want to avoid some financial stress. I didn’t make the decision to study at the University of Edinburgh until late in the game so I missed out on a few deadlines. I did however know I was going to study abroad somewhere and started saving money last summer, which I recommend as costs can be daunting.

Leaving my home school to go abroad for the entire academic year is going to be amazing, but also comes with some heartache. Sometimes I feel as though I am putting my life on hold and I have to remind myself that the world keeps turning back at home, and that my current relationships may change over the course of the year. I do believe that my choice was right for me and I look forward to making new relationships and allowing current ones to mature or run their course.

When it comes to packing and preparing for Scottish culture, there is only so much one can do. You can read travel books and personal stories all you want, and I am surely glad I have, for they have helped paint a picture of what I am headed for. I try to keep in mind that no one person’s story is going to be exactly like my own and to not worry too much about what others have had fears about or people’s negative experiences. I focus on the positive feedback so I will be confident and have a positive experience yourself.


“It was the age of wisdom,

It was age of foolishness.”


At age twenty, I feel as though I would be in the “age of foolishness” spectrum of life. I embrace this foolishness. Some people probably think it’s foolish to take out twice as much money in loans to afford studying abroad. Some would say it is foolish to leave my supportive home college, amazing friends and a long term relationship behind. Some would feel it is foolish to enroll in honours level English Lit and Philosophy courses with students that have been studying longer and possibly harder than I have.

I however, feel that this is the most important time in my life to make some risky choices in order to gain wisdom and perspective about my own life purpose and the diverse world. I know that I will make some foolish choices and mistakes along the way, but it will all be part of the experience and this is the time to live and learn.


“We had everything before us,

We had nothing before us.”


The most exciting part of this preparation stage is the tabula rasa, the blank slate that I am about to fill with new courses, new friends, a new home and hopefully, a new and improved me. I am looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity to get involved in University of Edinburgh life and learn what Scottish culture has to offer.   


It is the time to transcend time.