Au revoir aux États-Unis

“There’s only so much preparation you can do for a chapter of unknowns”. 

A friend reminded me of this subtle, yet powerful, phrase the other day. Her wisdom came shortly after I explained the lingering, paradoxical feelings of nerves and excitement that have grown as the number of days that I have left in the US dwindle into the single digits. And, as much as I don’t like to admit that I’m wrong… she was right. 

Traveling and adapting to new places is something that I have grown to become familiar with (even as I’m writing this, I am adapting back to home life in New Jersey after living and working in Washington D.C. for the last 8 months). Yet, each time I gear up for my next adventure, there is a faint voice in the back of my mind that reminds me, “you are going to do something you haven’t done before, you will encounter things that you haven’t seen”.

I must be frank, I like to plan. I like to know what will happen, and when, how to get from Point A to Point B, and what to expect in certain scenarios… if I am more frank, I will admit that I have been binging Swiss culture videos to learn about things that I may encounter in Switzerland. It is because of the pre-departure planning that makes this transition – from attending a college that I have come to know and love, to pursuing my academic passions with SIT’s International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy program in Geneva, Switzerland – intimidating to think about. There is a significant amount of change and unfamiliarity, meaning that there is only so much I can plan for. 
But, the precise element of entering the unknown makes me excited. Because of this, I am encouraged to entertain the possibilities of who I will meet, what I will see, and where I will be led. Adopting this perspective of optimism, I remind myself that with each new, unexpected experience and interaction, I will be challenged to learn, grow, and understand more about Switzerland… and myself.

Though there is only so much preparation I can do for a chapter of unknowns, I welcome these opportunities with open arms and am looking forward to the impact they will have on my academic and personal pursuits. 

Published by Juliana Struyk

Class of 2023 Political Science Major and French Minor SIT Geneva, Switzerland

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