COLUMN: So much to do, not enough time: Preparing for a semester abroad
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 03:09
September 5, 2012
The day begins with a 5:30 a.m. wake-up, an unfortunate circumstance considering my alarm is set for 6:30 a.m..
I reluctantly decide I need to get up. I double-check my luggage and triple-check my documents. Confident that everything has been accounted for, my anxiety soon gives way to anticipation.
In nine days, I will be embarking on a semester abroad in Prague, the historically endowed capital of the Czech Republic, but first I take a short detour to the more avant-garde thoroughfares of New York City, where I hope to diminish a considerably long pre-departure to-do list necessary for securing my student visa.
September 6, 2012
My first two days in New York reveal that the overwhelming bustle of the big city multiplies significantly when you have spent the preceding month living and working on an organic vegetable farm in rural upstate.
On Bleecker Street, I stumble upon the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, discovering that it offers both the quiet atmosphere and cheap coffee I am seeking. I settle into a plush seat in the back of the shop and review my dreaded pre-departure to-do list.
Close Wells Fargo account, check; Open a new account, check; Get duplicate passport, check; Get insurance policy translated, not checked. As part of the application process , I am required to submit a certified Czech translation of my insurance policy.
After an hour of Google searches and stress-inducing phone calls, my best option is a translation agency on Lexington Avenue. Much to my dismay, the agency cannot see me until Monday.
I struggle with the stress that comes from acquiring a student visa at the last minute; nonetheless, I look forward to a leisurely weekend before returning to the city Monday.
September 8, 2012:
I decide to spend my last weekend stateside attending a beer and music festival with an old friend. The Long Island weather forecast is bleak, but the Beer Fields Music Festival is a welcome finale to a long week.
At night’s end, I am fully relieved of the stress. On Monday, I will visit the consulate, and come Friday I will be on my way.
As I close the book on my first week of travel, I would like to remind those reading that the stress that comes with each new school year is as natural as the stress that comes with traveling. What is unfamiliar is always daunting, but in time new people will become old friends and new challenges will become prior accomplishments and all those feelings of unease and doubt will cultivate the seeds of a new and better you.
— Alexander Armani-Munn is a sophomore journalism and political science major and a reporter for The Mirror. Armani-Munn will contribute weekly columns about his study abroad experience throughout the semester.