To move internationally is to take a risk

Submitted by Alexandra Croteau
on 03/10/18

To move internationally is to take a risk. It is like jumping off the deep end of a
pool for the first time. As you stand at the edge, your hands shake and the words repeat
in your mind: am I ready, am I ready? You are not sure if your body will keep you afloat
as you submerge it in water. Though, there have been preparations in place to get you
here. Your arms and feet learned the motions that will bring you to the surface. Even so,
you are jumping into what appears to be a bottomless pool, will your body react in this
different location? Just like the jump into the pool, similar worries and doubts can
happen when moving abroad. One may think, what needs to be in place when moving
abroad? Well A-1 Auto Transport provides the services to help with the move. What is it
like to move internationally? Well here is my jump.
All of the items I will pack are lined up in rows in the corner of my room: one
bathing suit, only tank tops, t-shirts and shorts, my special facewash and moisturizer,
one thin journal and lots and lots of sunscreen. Checking over my packing list has been a
daily routine because I want to make sure I have everything but that I am not
overpacking. I only plan to bring my backpacking pack and want to make sure I have the
essentials.
As I was sitting in my kitchen with my mom, my heart was racing as I clicked the
purchase button. My one-way flight was booked and I was going to Costa Rica. I
researched many different organizations to volunteer with and I decided that
International Volunteer Headquarters would be the start to my adventures with
teaching English abroad. I choose them because they had staff members in San Jose that
could help me adjust to living in a different country as well as provide a host family I
could live with. So with my registration into the program, the constant worries of where
I would live or what I would do were answered; what else did I need to worry about?
This was soon answered with my knowledge of how the tourist visa worked; I needed
proof of onward travel. I had a week until I was leaving and I was frantically searching
for what proof of onward travel meant? Did I need to book another flight? I choose
IVHQ because of the low cost, I didn’t want to throw away my savings on a plane ticket I
may never use. What seemed like a miracle came through just a few days before I was
going to leave. A company would be able to purchase a bus ticket and send me the ticket which
would be my proof of onward travel. I sent in the required information and
received the ticket with an attached letter in my email, hastily, I pressed print and I was
off to the airport.
My mother and I are standing at the self-check-in at the airport, waiting for the
flight agent to check my bus ticket. When she asked for my proof of onward travel, I
proudly showed her my bus ticket, knowing that I had done my homework. “I am going
to have to ask my manager about this” is her response. “You don’t have a plane ticket?”
she asked as she studies me from over the counter. “No, this is all I have, I was told it
would be enough” I answer, trying to sound confident though doubts starts to creep in.
What if the ticket isn’t real? What if I need a plane ticket? How will I book another plane
ticket? Will they let me even get on the plane? In these moments, I have learned to take
a deep breathe and know that everything will work out…but how can it when things
don’t go as you planned? I breathe once more and the flight agent returns, I try to study
her face before the words come out but she is emotionless. “This will be ok” is her
response and my heart skips a beat. She tags my bag and sends it along. I am actually
going to Costa Rica, I think to myself. I say goodbye to my mom and dad who I leave in
tears but with the knowledge that I will be in their hearts. I promise to let them know
when I arrive and I turn to head through security. Security and heading to my gate are a
blur but I am awakening from my daydream when the plane is taking off. At this moment I
think to myself, what am I doing. I just signed up to live in a country I have never been
to before. I hoped that the plane would just stop and I could run back to my parents but
it never did. I landed in San Jose, got my baggage without any problems and was then
greeted by to women holding a smiley face flag who would bring me to orientation and
then my host family. From then on I felt grounded in my travels.
I discovered that I love to learn about different cultures, to experience new things
and to step out of my comfort zone. While I did not know it at the time, this was the
beginning of my nomadic lifestyle. From San Jose, I made the more permanent move to
live and work in a small surf and yoga town in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. In
this town, I adopted my loving dog. This made travel more complicated but it did not
stop me from going back to the United States with her and then to begin a whole new
chapter in Lima, Peru. My Lima chapter has now come to a close I look to take another jump
to study at George Washington University. I am relieved that it is not another
international move and I will take my experiences abroad into the classroom. They have
provided a learning experience for me; one that is immeasurable and impactful.

Submitted by Alexandra Croteau
on 03/10/18

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