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New Girl New Coast

Hi friends, I hope you all are doing well. I haven’t been on here in a while due to adjusting to my new life out west! I am participating in The National Student Exchange Program which basically allows you to study abroad for a semester at another university in the US. This was such a big opportunity for me since I have been in Maryland my whole life. I knew I wanted to go somewhere where yoga was popular, which lead me to want to go to the west coast. I originally wanted to go to California, but the school I liked only did a quarter system. This would result in me not graduating on time. So my coordinator suggested Flagstaff, Arizona and I just went along with it. I didn’t really care where I went, I just wanted to go somewhere new. I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone where I knew no one.


Of course, this was a very scary choice to make. As time went on, COVID hit and my dreams became something far gone from me, as I thought that my exchange would get canceled. Universities were still deciding whether they were going to accept exchange students. Fortunately Northern Arizona University still took me, even though the majority of classes are online.

Very quickly, I woke up in a completely new place where I didn’t have any friends besides my roomates and didn’t have a job. This was exhilarating but also stressful.


My purpose here though is provide you all with tips on being new in town.

First, as far as finding a job, I literally called every yoga studio in town to see if they were hiring. DO NOT GIVE UP. It is far too easy to get discouraged when no one calls you back or when people say they aren’t hiring because of the pandemic. Remember that what is meant for you will find you. Finally a studio called me back and I got a teaching position with them!

Secondly, make friends with your coworkers. They are people that you are going to be spending a lot of time with, so you might as well get to know them. I have become super close to some of the people I have met at work. Most likely they want to make new friends too!

Third, don’t be afraid to ask people to hang out with you first. I know this is easier said than done, especially for introverts. But, asking someone for their phone number first or asking someone to get brunch with you first will give you so much confidence in yourself. Most likely, they want to ask you to hang out as well, but are also scared to ask! Seriously the worst thing they can say is no :)

Fourth, be honest with people that you are new in town! This is how I got around to seeing a lot of new spots around Arizona by telling people that I’m from Maryland, don’t know where anything is, and that I’m only here for 5 months. People will want to show you around and are excited for you!

Fifth, make your roomates your best friends. If you are only somewhere for a short time like I am currently, then you will want to experience a ton of adventures with these people because you will not be living with them for long. I met both of my roomates on Facebook and I got extremely lucky; they are both wonderful girls. I love them both dearly and they have made my experience here so much better.

Sixth, do some exploring alone. This experience has made me so much more independent and confident in myself. For example, if my roomates or work friends can’t go somewhere with me, I will still go by myself! Having this mindset going into adulthood is so so important. Just because no one is available to go somewhere that you want to go, does not mean that you still can’t go! Remember that you are your own best friend and when you find good company in yourself, you truly will never be alone.


These are just a few things that I’ve learned so far on my exchange. I am about halfway through and am coming home in December. Reach out if you have any questions; there will be more tips to come.


Love always,


Kare


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