Maita is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Kinesiology major at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
In this week's post, Maita discusses what her study abroad experience taught her about routines.
If the rest of the population is anything like me, I can make the generalization in saying that humans look forward to being in a routine. Routine, in my opinion, makes life simpler. Once today starts to consistently look like yesterday, and yesterday always looks like tomorrow, after some time, each day will consist of going through the same motions.
Imagine a life with no surprises, no adaptations and no changes; would that make it any easier? A quote from John Porter says, “People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing.” Maybe, according to Porter, the reason that falling out of a routine often times seems challenging is due to the fact that change never seems to come at the right time.
Once you’ve gotten used to a weekly class schedule, the semester suddenly changes and you’re forced to learn a study routine all over again.
Once you’ve taught your body how to wake up early in the morning to go directly to the gym, your boss requests that you start work earlier and your exercise routine has to be squeezed in at another time.
Once you’ve learned to take the same bus every single day, the station closes down and you’re required to learn a new route in order to get to your daily activities.
Once you’ve lived at home, or close to home, all your life, all of a sudden you’re packing your life in a suitcase to live abroad in London for six whole weeks of learning a brand new routine.
Any of these sound familiar? For me particularly, the last one hits the nail directly on the head. For my whole life, I’ve lived in Minnesota and have followed a routine, for as long as I can remember, school nine months of the year, and summer break or holiday (as people in London would say) for the other three remaining. Three weeks ago, I jumped on an airplane to not only live in London, but to take classes here as well. As I mentioned, until now I’ve never mixed school and summer or lived too far, let alone across the world, from home. Coming to London has shaken everything and anything that I’ve previously known about a routine.
Often times, I think that the glamour associated with coming abroad tucks the realization of coming to a new place and learning a brand-new routine under the rug. Although living abroad is glamorous in so many ways, there are still difficulties resulting from having to learn and adapt to a new way of living.
The talk of travel and adventure often covers up words such as homesick and studying. Who knew that studying abroad actually included studying? Not me! Another thing that I didn’t realize was how present the feeling of missing home would actually be. I have never experienced the feeling of homesick-ness as I have in these last couple of weeks; I miss my family, my friends, my bed and of course, I miss air-conditioning. I miss home on a whole new level, but despite the feeling, I know that I am not ready to go home quite yet. There is still so much of the city left to experience and so many relationships left to expand. Speaking of, building these new relationships have shown me that I am not alone in the feeling of missing home or the only one having to adapt to a summer full of studying.
On top of the people, another great thing making all the adaptations easier is the institution assisting us in creating the new routines required to be successful in this brand new and exciting city. Over the six-week time span, each of the students in my program will be working towards earning six credits, which (at least for me) is six more than I have ever received during the months of summer. With CAPA holding true to their core values of personalized learning, cultural engagement and academic rigor, adapting to the idea of studying in summer has been quite do-able, in my opinion. The professors at CAPA know how to create a balance in studying abroad while also demonstrating how to make the most out of our time here. For my class specifically, once a week is dedicated to an in-class lecture, while another day of the week is dedicated to a field study done out-and-about in the city. School wise, I don’t think it gets much better than this. I am able to gain education in classes sized small enough to ensure that I receive personalized learning, while receiving hands-on intelligence about the culture I’m submersed in, all with hopefully being able to walk away with six credits towards my undergraduate degree.
Taking the underground to class, having homework in the summer and living away from home has, in all honesty, pushed me pretty close to what I would consider my breaking point. Learning and creating a new routine, especially for an extended amount of time, is a very difficult thing, but if now isn’t the right time for this change, when will it ever be?
Living abroad is in every way amazing, exciting, adventure provoking, incredible and life changing as it is said to be, and, being here in this moment, I wouldn’t change a thing. Adaptations are never going to be given with a manual and instructions on how to do so correctly, growth is never going to come without difficulty, new experiences won’t present themselves from the inside of a restricted box and lifelong friendships don’t happen overnight.
I’m beyond thankful for this opportunity in so many ways and I know that right when I get on a routine of living and learning in London, I’ll be right back home and forced to start all over again. - Maita .
Maita's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.