“So are you excited or nervous?” most people ask, when they learn that I will be studying in Germany this semester.
“Yes,” I tell them.
Nervousness and excitement go together, it seems. They’re two extremes of how I perceive the future’s possibilities and unknowns.
Ever since I started learning German in high school, I dreamed of visiting Germany. Top on my list was the Black Forest, a region famous for its beautiful landscapes, cuckoo clocks, and fairy tales. My great-great-grandfather was from this area, and our family still loves to eat Black Forest cake at least once a year. However, because of finances and family plans, I had never visited Germany.
As a prospective student looking into the excellent programs at Stetson University, I found out they had a study abroad program with a city in the Black Forest. This was a match made in Heaven. And now, three years later, I’m only a month away from finally fulfilling my dream.
I’m growing more nervous every day.
I try to contain this nervousness by figuring out what to take: passport; money pouch; toothbrush, of course; better pack some warm clothes, (Europe’s having an extra-cold winter over there); I should buy some new boots; and an adapter, can’t forget that; and sunscreen; and a dictionary; my laptop—what were the suitcase dimensions again?
I hate packing.
If—somehow—I do manage to purchase and pack everything I need, will I find my way through unfamiliar airports and train stations? Heck, I’ve never even been on a train. And the language barrier: can I keep up in classes taught almost exclusively in German?
Today, immersed with all these worries, I saw a verse that reminded me:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).
God has a way of waiting to speak until He knows you’ve given up listening to everything else, and the moment caught me off guard. He was right; every step of the way, I have watched Him make it financially possible for me to go on this amazing trip. He reassured me through friends who had already gone on this same journey. He gave me this desire to travel and see the world He has created. And in the same way, He will continue to guide me and comfort me, through the brightest and the darkest of times.