First Impressions and Second Thoughts

            In two months I will be starting classes for my semester abroad in England, and I’ve already made a bad first impression. In researching England I read over and over again that the English are very serious about manners. So I sent this super polite email asking the coordinator for the program at the university a few innocent questions. For some reason she thought that this meant that I had been ignoring her informational emails she had been sending. I have read them all, several times, I just had questions that I felt weren’t answered. I thought that asking questions and trying to understand would be a good thing. I guess I was wrong.

            Besides, even if my questions had been previously answered it could have been handled so much better. She acted like I’d caused a bunch more work for her with my email. She didn’t even answer two of my three questions.

            I’m having trouble rationalizing the email she sent to me. I realize that it is very hard to convey tone through email, but writing in all caps with exclamation points either means that you are really excited, really happy, or really mad. She was most definitely not happy or excited. I’m just upset to be off to a bad start before I’ve even arrived. It’s like being in debt before you even start working … oh wait, that’s my life. Ha!

            Clearly she doesn’t like me already, and frankly, I don’t like her either. Too bad I’m going to have to work with her to get through this whole study abroad thing. She is supposed to be the person I email if I have any questions (yeah right), she’s supposed to help me when I get there, and help me throughout the whole time I’m there. Lucky me.

            This whole fiasco is giving me second thought about the whole thing. It’s way too late to do anything about it now. Unless something goes horribly wrong I am going. I’m kind or wishing I had picked a different school. I have been thinking about this for about five months now, so this has really made me think that I made the wrong choice. I just have to remember that six month ago I made the choice that this is where I wanted to go and I must have had a good reason for choosing it then.

            On a semi-unrelated note, I just watched last week’s episode of Glee and OMG! Hot Irish guy has the best accent ever!! Ahhhhhhh! Next time I start to worry about things going wrong in England I’m just going to remember that there is at least one thing that will not disappoint me: the super-sexy accents!

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2 thoughts on “First Impressions and Second Thoughts

  1. It isn’t entirely a fiasco. There is disappointment, of course, and your questions haven’t been answered but that does not mean that studying abroad is the wrong decision.

    While living overseas, in England, and working with 15+ different nationalities, I learned things about me that I thought was common but truly were common to Americans…and maybe not others.

    Generally speaking, Americans asks loads of questions and need to know a lot more in advance. We have a desire to plan and to be prepared. We need to feel in control of the situation and we do not like surprises. Our many questions come across sometimes in a negative way when our motive for asking is not necessarily negative.

    Just be aware, that the way of life across the pond is much more laid back and a lot of ways will seem backwards. There are things you will encounter that will absolutely drive you bonkers (crazy/insane)…even when you are surrounded by sexy accents.

    Be open and willing to learn, to always be a student while you are abroad; there is always something to learn. The American way of doing things is not the only way and is sometimes offensive to others. Your worldview will be challenged, but there is a price to pay for entering a different culture. Pride and superior ways, always knowing the right way, may need to be left behind when you board that plane for it will get in the way while traveling.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! Even though I’ve been taking a culture class it never occured to me that my asking so many questions was an American thing! I’ll try to use this as a learning situation and stay open minded. I really am still excited and I know that while it may be hard at times, I have made the right decision. Thanks for reminding me to stay postive. =)

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