T Minus Five Months: On Facing My Fears

In approximately five months, I will be on my way to France for a year at Sciences Po Lyon.  The city is the second-largest in France, contains a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the gastronomic capital of a country known for its food.  The university is considered an elite “Grande École” and arguably has a better selection of courses in my major than Georgetown does.

And I am absolutely terrified.

What if I can’t understand my professors?  What if I don’t make any friends?  What if I hate my host family?  What if I go to buy a train ticket and the person at the counter just stares at me until I start to cry?

(Too real?  I’ll stop.)

But the thing is, I’m still going.  If we don’t face our fears, we miss out on so much.  We never see la Fête des lumières. We don’t give ourselves the chance to make new friends.  We don’t take awesome Media Studies courses that are exactly what we want to study.  We don’t make weekend trips to visit old friends in Paris or to see beautiful cities we’ve been missing for the last eight years.  (Although that’s another post entirely.)  We go on with our lives and pretend that this is all we ever wanted, really.

So here we are.  T minus five months.  I have five months to brush up on my vocab, apply for a visa, and prepare myself to face my fears.  I’m terrified now—and let’s be real, I’ll probably still be terrified come September—but I have five months to convince myself that there are worse things than being scared.


This post was written as the first of many study-abroad related posts for Georgetown’s Office of International Programs.  Starting in mid-August, I will be one of several student contributors to their blog.  All of my pieces will be cross-posted here.


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