Hi! My name is Zena and I am a junior at the University of Michigan-Flint, majoring in Marketing and Communications. I am also an International Student Ambassador working in the International Center.
I came to the United States from Egypt two and a half years ago, and it has been an adventure ever since! In the last semester of my sophomore year, I have decided that another adventure is indeed needed. “You are already abroad,” said my father when I told him that I am doing a semester abroad in Winter 2016. I always believed, however, that my twenties are the best time to see the world. If I am not going to travel around now, then when will I??
My journey started at the Education Abroad Office in the International Center, where I sat with study abroad advisor, Asinda Sirignano to look at study-abroad brochures. Uganda…. Argentina…. Croatia…. France…. Japan…. Iceland…. The possibilities were endless/ mind-blogging and my desire to see the world only grew further. After a lot of research, I have decided to go to POLAND. Yes, that cold, far-away place. With no stereotypical ideas about its people and no knowledge about the country nor the language, I have realized that Poland is the perfect place to start from scratch and live a true adventure.
Upon my preparation to travel to Poland, I have learned that the currency is called “zloty,” Polish food is beyond delicious, and that Poland is in central Europe surrounded by seven countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. The partner university, Kozminski University, is located in Warsaw and my semester will start February 22nd, leaving me with a long winter break. To take advantage of my extended winter break, I went to Egypt to visit my family once more before the start of classes.
In Egypt I was welcomed with warm embraces and unlimited Egyptian dishes, such as my favorite dish “Fata.” While in Egypt and surrounded by familiar people, my courage started reducing and my worries increased. What if I don’t find an apartment to live in? What if I can’t learn Polish fast enough and won’t be able to communicate with people? What if I cannot find space in the classes I am supposed to take? What if I get lonely? What if I don’t like it?
However, as soon as I get a bad thought, it would get replaced with a positive email or Facebook message. I would get emails indicating that I have received a scholarship, or I would get a message from another exchange student stating that they are excited to me and so on.
As it is time now to pack my bags and leave to the airport, I will continue writing you my thoughts later…
-Zena, February 12, 2016