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August 27, 2019

Learn more about Asbury University’s Paris Semester!

By Annie Brown ’21

This week, I will be getting on a plane as I travel to Paris, France to participate in Asbury University’s Paris Semester program. I’ve never been out of the country and for this Kentucky gal who has lived in her beloved state for her entire twenty years of existence, the thought of leaving family, friends and places behind feels a little daunting but incredibly exciting.

After getting accepted into Asbury’s Paris Semester program earlier this year, I was nothing but enthusiastic. I would get to experience a whole different country — by myself — for my education. That excitement still rings as one of the loudest voices in my head. I cannot wait to visit the Louvre, take day trips to places like Versailles, try true Parisian croissants and take pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. 

But, as the time approaches, I’ve found myself worrying more about small, logistical things.

One of the things that I’ve learned that helps with the pre-study abroad anxiety is to write down my fears. I noticed all mine started with the word “will.” This small everyday word is used to express the inevitable. I am going to land in Paris. I am probably going to look like a complete tourist — there aren’t enough YouTube videos or  solid colors in my wardrobe to ever help me look like a true Parisian. There will be difficult times in my internship. But while I may try to control the small things, I am not ultimately in control — it is God who is (and thank goodness for that). It is His inevitable will that will happen. I have had to surrender my fears to come to grips with the fact that it will be a transition, but I serve a God who cares about me. This experience will not only feel surreal, but it will also be a season full of growth and opportunity. I’ll have to depend on God in ways I never have before, and I’ll have opportunities to share God in ways I never have before. This experience, like all other turning points in our lives, will help me grow into the person God has created me to be. And that makes me endlessly thankful for what I’m about to experience.

That being said, I’ve also been taking some practical steps to help make the transition easier:

  1. Make lists

I have been making lists about everything these days—from where I want to visit to what clothes, school supplies and other necessities I need to pack.

  1. Take time to not think about everything you have to do

There is so much to think about before leaving the country. But there is a point where you can start to overthink. Take some time after a day of completing a to-do list to NOT think about it, by watching a show or reading a book.

  1. Talk about it

When I’ve felt especially anxious, I’ve found it helpful to talk with a trusted friend or family member about what I’m going through emotionally. It’s a great way to put things in perspective.

Whatever adventure you’re about to embark on, this semester will grow you. Embrace it; lean into the difficult moments. You’ll look back on all you’ve accomplished with pride and be able to see God’s love letter to you through it all.