"Tienes miedo hijo?" my mom asked me on our way back home from the movies. We had just gone to see American Assassin, and with the setting being mostly in Rome, the topic of Europe was ripe for discussion. I reached for my mom's hand and I held it firmly.
"Yeah Mom I'm a little scared. But if I wasn't then I would be worried," I replied. It takes my mom a few moments to respond. I start to hear her sniffle, and when I look over I see the streetlights reflecting in her dewy eyes. Brilliant reds and greens cross her face and I looked away before I got too emotional.
Honestly, it was not until that moment that I started considering that Norwich, England would be my new setting. It was a surreal moment.
It was back in August 2016, at the beginning of my second year at HWS, when I considered studying abroad. I acted on my impulse, and in September 2016 and I attended the mandatory meeting from the Global Education office. Here I am a year later from that first meeting. My excitement has grown since then, but so has my doubt.
Despite my sporadic traveling schedule, I am still finding it difficult anticipating what to pack, or even how to pack it. I swear I cannot decide what is function and what is fashion! Even though these superficial concerns are definitely first world problems, they show how even the most basic tasks are taxing me. There are dozens of questions firing off in my head every time look at my luggage bags.
Will I make friends? Will I be safe? Will I get good grades? Will I be able to have a life changing experience? These are just some of the concerns that I have begun to ponder. The one thing I am certain of though is that if I didn't go abroad than I wouldn't be able to answer them.
With the news constantly painting London, and most of Europe, with headlines of attacks, my level of concern has risen. But, as someone who studies media and its' impact I have begun to look at these headlines more critically. Yes, terrorism is effecting the U.K., but living in fear allows the criminals executing these attacks to be victorious.
Along with the superficial concerns I mentioned previously, being abroad is a test of one's will. Lucky for me, my name, and arrogance, guarantees that I can succeed in this endeavor. Like I said, there are many reasons I am nervous for heading to Norwich, England, yet it's a feeling that I am also excited for. The same sentiments I feel now are identical to 3 years ago when I flew to Geneva, NY for the first time. Friends, food, safety, and everything in between were all things I kept thinking about.
Despite all the reasons I thought I wouldn't make it, here I am flourishing 3 years later.
I can truly say that I am blessed to have dozens of people supporting me as I prepare for my send off to the University of East Anglia.
Both of my parents are supportive of my endeavor, my grandma is proud of how far I have come since the days I crawled on her carpet, and my sisters are eager for souvenirs. My Posse mentor called me the other day sharing her enthusiasm for my upcoming adventure. Many of my fellow Posse members have all sent me messages cheering me off, and reminding me that I am missed. At dinner with my career mentor, she gave me a gorgeous Paramount journal and matching luggage tags. She studied abroad in London, England during her study abroad, and she knew this would be a great way to capture my time in the U.K.
Along with the outside support, I am motivated to head to Norwich thanks to my friend Hannah. One of the first friends I ever made at HWS, Hannah has been one of the rocks I am lucky I found. We lived in the same hall freshman year, shared the same Writer's seminar, and we applied to UEA supporting each other all the way.
Heading to a new place is always scary, but getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is what I do, and Will do best.
Stay tuned for more on my upcoming trip in the U.K.!
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.