Stress is Just a Concept! How to Deal with Pre-Arrival Anxiety.

Students on campus walkways

You want to study abroad. But you know how easily you get stressed by literally every little thing. So do you do? Research of course!

Knowledge is power they say. So you consider all possibilities. You want to make sure to pick the best place in Europe to study in.

Instead watching new season of Punisher, you spend long hours researching. You try to convince yourself you can afford cost of living in Ireland (double check: did you count expenses for parties at least twice a week?).

You ignore all your exams and house work, because you spend time looking through all the photos of on-campus accommodations. You almost created new species of live creatures, because instead of washing up the dishes you keep checking: best places to eat, have a coffee or a stroll in your destination.

You want to find out what traditional food do they have, what’s the cost of laundry, what are the numbers of the busses there, how much is it to get to the other city and how many sunny and rainy days per year are there. So… You think you’re ready and prepared? There’s nothing to shock you or stress you out?

I thought so too. I can’t say I wasn’t prepared at all. I just wasn’t expecting that much of stress during my travel to Ireland. Surprisingly it was the most stressful part about the whole exchange. So I guess it’s safe to say the first thing that will stress you here is just the fact of being shocked by your reactions. Let me tell you my story of my stress and cure for it!

Photo Credit: Nicola O’Sullivan

Oh yeah, I know that presence of the stress it’s obvious. How can you not be stressed while changing interily your environment. Without a doubt you thought about it. But trust me, you can’t feel it till you live it. I was absolutely excited about this adventure.

I genuinely believed it will be the best 4 months of my life. Despite all of it in the morning of my flight my body just refused to cooperate with it’s owner. It declared a little civil war with me. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. Psychologically i was perfectly ok. Aware of all challenges I’m going to face, but ready for them. Nevertheless stress was so big, that it affected my organism profoundly. I was shaking more than Ron Weasley when he saw a spider.

As soon as i put a bite of food in my mouth I had to run to the toilet. So basically instead of taking opportunity of eating last Polish meal that day, I made myself a little detox. Somehow I survived whole day like this.

Absolute peak of my stress  was getting of a plane in Shannon. And that’s when it hit me. Never have I ever been to situation, when i didn’t know absolutely anybody in a new place.

I picked my baggage and realize there is completely nobody I can text, talk or cry to (I must admit that’s a little exaggeration right there). I remember walking into arrival zone as if it was in slow motion. Every single cell in my body was terrified. I swear. No even cells. All mitochondrions, ribosomes, nucleuses and cytoplasm (that’s enough of a cell’s parts, did pretty good for a non biology student anyway) were going crazy. I think that’s the best description of that feeling I’m capable of creating.

I hesitantly approached UL students welcoming us on the airport. Luckily that place is small, so it was impossible to miss them. Completely unable to produce any logical sentence, I gladly listened to the girl from committee. Her warming smile calmed my cells down (some of them at least). And then we started to talk.

And that was basically it. No plot twists, no explosions, no fireworks. It was all I needed to calm down. Just one friendly face and a simple conversation. With every single person I met, I was forgetting about stress.

Of course after getting over the anxiety about getting to know new people and starting conversations in English. That was first stressful barrier to overcome after surviving the whole travel to Ireland. “What if I won’t understand them? Will they understand me? Is my pronunciation right? Did I just use the appropriate tense?“

Once you find out it doesn’t really matter (don’t tell my English teacher!), everything gets easier. Your language doesn’t have to be perfect. Communication is always possible, all you need is a little bit of will.

And that’s the only resolution for your stress; people. With them everything is just rather adventure than stressful tragedy.

Whatever happens you can figure it out together. And don’t worry about meeting new people. It is simply impossible not to meet some.

Every international student here is dying to make new friends. We are all in the same situation. First week is all about meeting new people. And trust me it’s the best and the craziest one. You’ll love it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s