When you’re planning a trip abroad there is always that uneasy feeling of “ooh, I wonder what’s going to await me and I am not sure how to feel about it”. The good old feeling of uncertainty. We all know it; We all feel it when we’re about to leave our comfort zone, no matter how little.
Naturally, the further you leave your comfort zone behind, the more uncertainty and unease you will experience. Even if it is coupled with lots of excitement, uncertainty isn’t the most pleasurable feeling to carry around with you during the weeks or months ahead of your planned trip. Sadly there isn’t a magic pill you can take or a fancy yoga position you can do to get rid of it either. So how do you shed or at least reduce that tugging feeling in an effort to not let it spoil your getting all excited about what’s around the corner?
It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think. Simply remember TWO questions:
1) What’s the worst that could happen?
2) What do I need to do to get back on track?
Now, I don’t mean that in a way where you sit at home and think of every possible horror scenario you can conjure-up. What I do mean, is that whenever you find yourself in a situation that makes you nervous, anxious or panicky in any way, stop for a few seconds, take a deep breath and think to yourself “Okay, let’s think. What’s the worst that could happen?”. Then act on it. Let’s play this out with a few of the most common scenarios you will potentially face during your time in London or Dublin when you carry out your internship programme.
Example 1: Missed train or bus
It’s not uncommon to miss your train or bus to work on on your way back home. Multiple reasons like traffic jams, oversleeping (try not to) or even confusion over which bus/train to take can easily lead to a missed connection. Believe me, we’ve all been there and after many years of living in London or Dublin, it still happens to us every now and then. But it’s okay. Remember the question from above “What’s the worst that could happen?” Well, let’s see. You could get to work late. You could arrive home late and miss dinner time. You could keep a friend waiting. All not very pleasant. Potentially not the greatest start if it happens on your first day. Maybe even quite embarrassing. BUT, you will all get over it. You, your workplace, your host family, whoever is involved. The main thing to remember is that once you figure out when the next train or bus will leave, as soon as you get a chance, communicate your issue to the person you are going to keep waiting as a result of this. So either call your workplace or host family, or even the friend you’re going to be late for and let them know that a) you are safe and b) when they can expect you to get there. With clear communication you can avoid anyone getting worried or upset and you can relax instead of feeling awkward about it.
Example 2: Lost travel documentation
This is certainly one of the most nerve wracking scenarios. After all nobody gets to board a plane without their ticket, passport or personal ID. So naturally, once you realise some or all of your travel documentation has gone missing, panic sets in. Cold sweat starts to run down your forehead and a zillion different scenarios start playing in your mind trying to convince you that all is lost and you’re never going to get back home. Our brains are our own worst enemies in these moments. But worry not. You won’t be the first person this has happened to and believe me when I say, they all got home just fine and even together with the other project participants they embarked on this journey with. As always, start by shifting your thoughts from panic to problem solving mode by asking yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?”. In this instance, IF you really were to miss your plane home, you’d initially need to put 3 main things into place:
1) Replacement papers (your local embassy can help with emergency passports)
2) An alternative flight
3) Prolonged accommodation (most likely the same or another ADC host family depending on their availability at the time)
All this sounds a little overwhelming but chances are you will only need to organise replacement papers and not need to worry about steps 2 and 3 at all. Remember, the ADC College Team is always here to help, 24 hours, 7 days a week so you won’t be going through this alone. Talking to the project manager/group leader from your home country will also be necessary as they would not only be able to help you organise this but they may even be able to help you recover any extra costs through your travel insurance.
Example 3: Getting lost late at night
Getting seriously lost in a foreign city is never going to be a “walk in the park” as the Brits say. If it happens to you late at night, even worse. Ideally, you won’t be staying out too late anyway but depending on your age and agreement with the host family it may well happen that you are trying to make your way home from a late night musical or a night out with your friends on the weekend. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the routes and times of the night time buses in advance, trying to find your way home at a time when most daytime trains and buses are no longer running can be somewhat intimidating. It may even happen that after an eventful week you fall asleep on the chosen train or bus and end up at a station you have never been to before, all the way at the other end of town. All of this is possible and probably quite scary. But it is not the end of the world. The best advice I can give in this instance is that you accept the fact that you may be spending more money than you intended but you choose the safest option of calling a cab to take you directly to your host family. It will safe you nerves and time as well as avoid that you end up getting even more lost when trying to rectify your initial mistake. So what’s the worst that could happen? You end up losing some money but at least you are safe and have an opportunity to call ahead and let them know that you are fine and on your way home.
Always stay safe, but remember to have fun!
ADC College organises Internship Programmes in London and Dublin, eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.