Expectations Abound Abroad

Alta Millar, October 18, 2018

You know when you’re really excited about something and you keep imagining it over and over again? How you go through each moment, analyzing each scenario, as if you’re mapping it out before it even happens. This is probably one my favorite things to do. It calms my nerves before a big day, like a dance audition, performance, or even travelling to London like I am now. But what happens when things don’t go according to plan? I’ve had to ask myself this question a lot these past two months.

Studying abroad for me has been a lot about letting go of expectations. I sometimes catch myself wanting my education to be a certain way here at Trinity Laban. I want the teachers to teach me in the way I crave, and even for the students to be a certain way.

I was having a case of homesickness on a Friday afternoon, after a dance technique class where I felt inadequate, uncoordinated, and confused on the combinations. After class I went outside to get some fresh air when a friend of mine called me over. At first I thought, “I don’t want to talk to anyone,” but somehow I found myself crying in her arms. I talked to her about how I was feeling frustrated that nothing seemed to be how I pictured it.

I was surprised to find she felt the same way. In fact, everyone here pretty much feels the same way. With a large international student body, tons of my classmates feel a little lost and disoriented here. In a way, knowing this made me feel quite a bit better. Having this moment with my friend made me realize that it’s important to share your experience with people because more often than not, they’ll relate, understand, and help you through it.

Once I was able to accept the fact that things abroad are simply different than I had imagined and that I can’t control them, I’ve been able to enjoy what it is that I do have. I have friends, good food, a place to dance and place to call home. In the end, who am I to complain? Studying abroad isn’t always about making your imagination into reality, sometimes it’s about going deeper into the experience that’s already in front of you.

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  • View from Alta’s dance studio.


(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)