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Packed: You Sure You Didn’t Leave Anything Behind?

My room is a mess. My clothes are sprawled out across every surface, luggage laying open and half full on the floor, and I’m pretty sure my toothbrush is laying on my nightstand… wait, did I pack my toothbrush already? Yeah, I should probably get that back out; I’m not leaving for four more days, and brushing my teeth this week is definitely in my best interest.

Am I going crazy? Maybe. I can tell you one thing for certain: I don’t want to leave anything behind. I’ve made checklists on top of checklists to make sure I don’t forget anything, but I can still guarantee you I am going to leave a few things behind; not necessarily because I forget them but because I’m leaving. In a few days, I am leaving my home, and I’m not coming back… for six weeks. Wow. That just hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m going to be gone for 42 days, and I’m leaving a lot behind: my family, my friends, and life as I know it. I wish I could shove them all into my suitcase and take them with me, but I just can’t. It’s going to be really hard leaving all the comforts of home behind, but that’s what adventure is all about right? Getting out of your comfort zone?

I didn’t sign up to go to Argentina because I wanted to experience the same things I do back home. I’m traveling halfway across the world! I want to be a part of something completely new. I want to see the vibrant landscapes, smell the crisp ocean breeze, taste the exquisite food, hear the hustle and bustle of the city, and feel beneath my feet ground I have not yet tread on.

Studying abroad is all about getting out there and being a part of something new. It’s not about what you’re bringing with you, or even what you left behind (No, forgetting that extra pair of socks is not going to make or break your study abroad experience). Studying abroad is a time to embrace uncertainty and seek out the unknown.

So, go on and forget, I tell myself! Whatever it is, you don’t need it where you’re going. Ditch that checklist and zip up your suitcase because it’s time to go. Tell your family you love them and your friends goodbye; It’s time to see the world.

(Below: pictures of me saying goodbye to my family)


Sam Nelson is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Economics with a minor in Spanish. Sam will study abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina during Summer of 2018 with hopes of improving his Spanish language skills. He is a member of Pride Alliance and several other student organizations. After Sam completes his degree at UMKC, he plans to attend graduate school and earn his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Ir a Granada: Before the Flight Frights

This book has been my focus as my flight anxiety has become prevalent in my travels.

Spain will be my home for six weeks while I attend classes in Granada and tour the country for almost two weeks. What was once just a minuscule possibility in Spanish 221 has become an amazing experience that I will begin in just a few days. The only thing from stopping me now is my flight anxiety. 

I have traveled before: in high school, I crossed the U.S. via plane to Hawaii, where we were invited to march in a Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The first flight, about an hour or so, went well enough, but as soon as the second flight came around, my confidence began to deteriorate and the anxiety overwhelmingly took over my fight or flight responses. But on a plane, there is nowhere to go.

Since that particular flight, I have grown in excitement for the landing in Madrid and cringe at the sight of my plane ticket. My carry-on and personal bag are full of distractions: an iPod for music, my textbook for classes, an amazing journal made just for travelers going to Spain, my boyfriend’s hoodie, practice worksheets to brush up on my Español, and multiple other trinkets to keep me calm when all medicine fails.Ironically, packing has only exasperated this fear of mine, because as soon as all of my bags are packed, the sooner I will be boarding the plane that has recently haunted me into anxiety-dwelling research.

If I am so scared to travel to Spain via aircraft, why I am still continuing this journey?

The concept of studying abroad sparked joy in my mind and my heart. Studying a language that one I that would like to become fluent in is not something that will happen overnight, and probably not in six weeks, either. But it is what I want to do, even if I must travel across the globe on a plane, I have everything I might possibly need to get on that plane, and I will not let my anxiety stop me.


Grace Englehart is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Creative Writing and Spanish. Grace is spending the summer term abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

 Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Home and What It Means

Me and my friend Sam Morse at breakfast at Chez Elle in Kansas City, MO, June 15, 2017. Morning before departure.

Street names – they’re an integral part of life. We use them to get home, to pick up friends, to get to breakfast dates. As I drive the roads of Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, and Kansas City for the last time for two months, I know that these roads feel like home. Poets often write about how our own hearts are roadmaps; with love being the ultimate destination: the final home.

But really, what is home?

As I have prepared to leave home for two months, I’ve done a lot of thinking on it. Home is relative. Home is many different things, all at once. It’s a physical house, it’s a metro, it’s a city, it’s a person, it’s a family, it’s a state of mind. Some people spend their entire lives searching for home and never find it.

I am leaving behind all of these things for what promises to be one of the best times of my life. For the next two months, my homes will be hotel rooms, hostel beds, train cars, airplanes, my cousin’s apartment, my dorm in Edinburgh, and Airbnbs in Germany. Home will also be the people I am with: my cousin in Nice, my friend in Paris, his family in Normandy, my classmates in Scotland, and my friends and family I keep in touch with here in Kansas City.

I’m sitting here with Sam outside Chez Elle, listening to the birds, chatter, and the whirring of fire sirens. This feels like home. Life is moving forward, and my life is taking me in a direction that, at this moment, I cannot even fathom. I don’t know what to expect when I get to France, when I get to Scotland, or when I get to Germany – everyone I encounter tells me, “You’re going to have the time of your life. It’s going to be amazing.” And I smile and nod, absolutely terrified. I am approximately 2 parts excitement, and 1 part, “what have I gotten myself into?”

I’m ready. Until August, Kansas City.


Victoria Davidson is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City double majoring in History and Foreign Languages and Literature with a German emphasis. Victoria is spending July abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Honors Summer Program in Scotland.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.