By Sahiry Fragoso
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
Passport? Check. Socks? Check. Toothbrush? Check. More clothes than I can reasonably wear in a lifetime? Check.
If you have ever traveled, especially for long periods of time, you know how easy it is to overpack. Every time I go on a vacation, I always end up packing that pair of high heels that I never use, “just in case.” Because you know, I need my “essentials” for survival.
Inevitably, I end up wearing the same outfit for a week and all of my contingency items remain in my suitcase. Worst part is, that the majority of the time, when I finish packing, I take one last look at my suitcase before I close it and I remind myself: It’s not overpacking, It’s being cautious.
While most of us love traveling, packing is always a nightmare, even if it’s just for a weekend. Imagine packing for a semester abroad and being prepared for every situation! My checklist is about as long as the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Now, preparing to study abroad seems easy, but it takes a whole lot more than just checking boxes off of a checklist. I started planning this trip when I was a sophomore, which is when I found out I was able to study abroad while being an international student.
Having to choose one destination out of so many, maintaining a good grade point average, figuring out my degree plan, saving up money, and meeting all the requirements of the country I ended up choosing are a few of the things I had to do before I got to the point where my only concern was figuring out outfits for each day.
I knew I wanted to study abroad. Now it was time to see the destinations available for me. After staring for an eternity at the sister schools list on the University of the Incarnate Word website, I chose two finalists: Cyprus and Greece. After a lot of back and forth, I decided to go to Greece.
It was now time to keep my GPA as high as a kite, and I honestly wasn’t doing too bad at that, so my degree plan – a bachelor’s degree in communication arts with a concentration in production — became the only thing keeping me awake at night. Like I mentioned before, I found out I could study abroad when I was a sophomore and by that time, I had taken most of my university core classes.
Having to figure out life is never an easy thing, and figuring out your degree plan is just twice as difficult. I finally came up with a plan that would work for me with the help of a few different advisers. That’s right, as the overthinker I am, I had to consult my plan with three people when in reality I just needed the approval of one. I have issues).
I now had my destination, my GPA was in good standing, and I had a degree plan that worked quite well. It was time to talk about money — never an easy topic. At the time I was dealing with the process, the economy of Greece was six feet under, so plane tickets were on the dollar menu at any airplane company.
Excited on how cheap everything was going to be when I got there, I continued living like a regular college student. You know, Whataburger and Bill Miller’s were my daily bread. I did decide to save up a third of my paycheck for my trip, as well as any money gifts I would get.
I then found out the process to get a student visa for Greece. My heart was broken. I needed an FBI background check, and as the criminal I am, I knew I was not going to be able to go anymore. Not really. But I know those take a while to make their way back, and mine did.
I applied for my background check last October and got it back in March, so I lost my chance to go at the beginning of my junior year as I expected. All my hopes and dreams were falling, but I did not give up. So this past semester I did the exact same process all over again.
I am now ready to get a tan worthy of a Greek goddess, devour gyros and dolmas until I explode, stuff my face on feta cheese, eat Greek frozen yogurt every day — and I’ll stop while I’m ahead because my mouth is already watering. I can’t believe the next time I will be writing about my adventures for the Logos, I will be in the land of the gods and goddesses. Until next time, Yia sou!
E-mail Fragoso at firstname.lastname@example.org