Audrey Erker, a business administration major from Omaha, Nebraska, who will be a junior this fall, studies abroad in the Nebraska at Oxford program July 21-August 17. She chose the business abroad program because she loves its history, a 31-year collaboration between Nebraska and Jesus College at the University of Oxford. Audrey looks forward to meeting other people who are challenging themselves to explore a new culture together. Before the program begins, she plans to visit her host sister in France from when she studied abroad in high school. Follow Audrey and her journey on Instagram @audreyerker.
Wanderlust – July 1, 2019
Noun. “A strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.”
Yes, this is an actual word according to dictionary.com. I am not sure when I learned this word many years ago, but when I heard it, something clicked. It was magical, somehow it captured how I felt and even sounded amazing. Since I was young, I always wanted my head in the clouds. Most find this saying to be negative, believing it has impractical connotations, but to me it signifies dreaming big and being optimistic instead of limiting myself. I loved flying, regardless of where I was going. Aside from the nagging from my parents and the craziness of most airports, I always found a sense of calm once we took off through the sky. Looking through the window as we break through the clouds, my mind begins to wander, thinking about all the adventures I will have once we land.
Unsurprisingly, this feeling has stuck with me, but as I gained more control over my life, I had fewer reasons to ignore it. No longer could I unfairly put all the blame on my parents for not planning a super fun trip to some exotic destination. I could make the choice to go anywhere in the world, the only one stopping me was me.
My study abroad journey actually started many, many months ago, all the way back in October 2018 when I finally decided to start my application for the program. I had procrastinated this moment for months, not putting much thought into it. I knew I wanted to study abroad and thought that Oxford's program was perfect, yet I couldn't pull the trigger, subconsciously something was holding me back. Reflecting back now, I think I held off completing my application for many reasons, but mostly because of the uncertainty that came with it. “Who would I know on my trip? How hard would the classes be? Would I even get accepted? How am I going to pay for that?” These were just some questions I had bouncing around in my head.
A textbook over-thinker, I tend to get hung up on the details. One day I finally ignored my rational brain and began putting my head in the clouds again. I forgot about everything else and thought about flying. I thought about all the adventures I would have in England. I asked myself the only question that actually mattered: “Do I want to go to Oxford?”
Then it was settled. While it can take forever to make up my mind, after I decide on something, good luck changing my mind. I finished my application, which was accepted. I ate sandwiches every day at work and saved my money to show my parents that I was dedicated to the trip. I bought a travel journal so I won’t forget one memory I make on the trip. I dug up my passport, featuring a photo that can only be described as my mugshot. I put all my travel dates in my calendar, which serendipitously shows a girl traveling to London in July. I started coming to terms that I cannot pack my entire closet and have been strategizing the best way to pack my suitcase. The Marie Kondo craze could not have come at a better time.
With two weeks until I leave Omaha, and still a lot to do, I am making sure my head stays up in the clouds where it should be.