Participant blog: hold on to your parachutes

We’ve asked Study Tour participants to write a blog post for our website with a view on the Tour from their perspective. This week, Stephen will share his expectations and experiences so far.

Monday morning, I find myself in a crowded room filled with other students listening to an introductory lecture and thinking about all the things that need to be done this week.  Courses, sports, committees, and friends have pushed aside all the freedom which the vacation offered. It’s good to be back but the first week brings a big wave of stuff to do with it. It brings a feeling of losing control. Somewhat like dropping out of an airplane with a fat instructor tied to your back.

As you probably know, the Ice Bucket Challenge has become a mayor trend on social media the past couple of weeks. The idea behind this is to throw a bucket of ice cold water over yourself to experience the loss of control from which ALS patients suffer daily. Some people follow the trend, others are genuinely concerned and others fail miserably in their attempt. However, they all experience the loss of control that they have gotten so accustomed to, just like me when I rushed towards our green and blue planet going over 190 km/h.

New experiences go hand in hand with a lot of mixed feelings.  An ice bucket is full of refreshing water but is experienced as a loss of control. Dangling your legs out of an airplane is fun, letting go of the door handle is a whole other story.

You can see the fear and anticipation in every video of the ice bucket challenge. The person knows what is going to happen. He knows that one of his friends convinced/convicted him to do it and that he can select more victims afterwards. The more I start thinking about it, the more I realize that the study tour is the same. Every participant of the tour is excited and scared about what they will encounter. You will throw yourself in the deep in foreign countries, while meeting new people and trying all the new experiences that a continent has to offer. And when you have returned, and the storm has cleared, you will convince your friends to go on the next study tour. Let’s go and enjoy the show…