I can picture myself at ten years old; surrounded in the savannah I had created in my head. One that consisted of a jungle of bed sheets and the company of a stuffed giraffe and elephant. It was in this kingdom where I held my own safaris, my own world without ever leaving my bedroom.
Perhaps this was what enticed me to travel to Cape Town: the vision of adventure still floating around in my mind. But now, that child has grown up. I want more than the adventure that thrilled my young heart. Now, I long for the insight.
Perhaps that is both the opportunity and the challenge that I foresee in this journey to Cape Town: the discovery of insight. It is the understanding that I both desire and cringe at the thought of. It is the fact I will go on this voyage to a place I don’t know, and undoubtedly find myself overwhelmed by the shock and the difference in location and culture. I will see the struggles and heartache of a new nation that will not only challenge me, but challenge what I have been taught and what I had previously understood.
At the same time, this new insight will offer me an opportunity to open my eyes to the vastness of this planet and appreciate in full what our world has to offer. I will experience beautiful things; things that can only be felt through experience, could only be understood through action. Then, I will leave Cape Town not only with the adventure in my soul, but also with the insight in my heart that will stay with me forever.
If I were a movie character, I would definitely be Dory of Finding Nemo. I can’t help but identify with her sense that there is always something more, her deep curiosity for the unfamiliar, and her zest for every adventure. While her cautious friend Marlin is always mentioning the dangers of their unfamiliar surroundings, Dory reminds him, “This is the ocean silly, we’re not the only two in here.” Read more
The ancient Romans had a phrase for it: Carpe diem. My generation also has a word for it: YOLO. My motto? I want to have stories to tell, stories of adventures and challenges and people that define and shape me.
My time abroad will teach me to navigate a new country and culture, and I know I will experience a wide range of emotions, from eagerness and excitement to confusion and homesickness, when facing all the positive and negative events such an undertaking includes. It is scary to leap into the unknown, but embracing uncertainty, feeling uncomfortable, and taking chances are the best ways to learn and grow. Read more
I had thought about what leaving South Africa was going to be like early on in my trip. I figured I would leave the Rainbow Nation behind along with my email address to the couple of friends I had made on my journey. I figured I would return with some impressive new photos, a nice tan, maybe a wooden giraffe souvenir. However, as I sit here in my Colorado home, still in awe at how I could have forgotten how cold these snowy days can be, I realize that I had sorely underestimated what returning to America would be like.
Phones ringing, printers running and learning the tricks to a Mac. This is what my summer entails. Some people might think I’m crazy for signing up for this, yet instead of spending my time at the beach getting a tan that will fade away, I will be working at Interstudy; learning skills that will stick around much longer.
After much deliberation I knew I wanted to pursue a career in international education. (For all of you out there who haven’t come to an answer yet, don’t freak out.) Having just graduated this past May, the first question I am always asked by people is “ what are you looking to do with your degree?” Just picture all the funny looks I get when I tell people I majored in Biology.
Clearly I have a passion for science, (no one would go through the “torture” of organic chemistry if they didn’t have to), but there wasn’t a specific area I was enthusiastic about continuing in. With that in mind, I thought about what other passions I had. I could have been a professional coin collector or worked in a tourist shop that only sold keychains, but instead I thought about my love to travel. Read more
The best part about studying abroad in Botswana, is being able to travel to some amazing nearby places. For semester break I traveled with three other international students to Ponta de Ouro, Mozambique: a county that is said to have the most beautiful beaches in all of Africa. Just getting there, was an adventure within itself as we began our trip by not being let through the South African border, therefor missing our bus we had already paid for. Instead, we ended up hitchhiking to Johannesburg, then catching our next bus to Moputo, taking a ferry to Contembe, and then being driven by a jeep for the last three hours, until we finally reached our backpackers hostel. I four-wheeled up the coast, bought food from the local market, negotiated for local crafts, and spent my days laying on the beautiful beaches and trying to avoid the blue jellyfish as I swam in the warm ocean. It was a wonderful vacation filled with relaxation, adventure, and culture. Read more
For me, winter has always been a season for personal reflection. Maybe it’s because I have too much time on my hands with the weather usually too cold to carry out my normal activities, or perhaps it’s because I get a break from school and thus am able to think about things other than calculus proofs or essay assignments. Either way, I always spend more time in my own head during the winter than during any other season.
This winter, though, it was definitely a good thing. As I embark on a new adventure, I feel it was beneficial to spend some time thinking about what lies ahead of me. And while I know there are many things I can’t anticipate until I’ve set foot overseas, I already have some ideas about what I stand to gain from this experience. Read more
I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been asked, “Why Botswana?” over the last few months. Although it is difficult to explain to others my exact reason of why I want to travel to Africa as an education major, I have no doubt that I made the right decision. With that decision comes excitement and hope for adventure as well as worries, anxiety, and fear of the unknown. As I lay in bed at night I like to imagine what some of my adventures might look like during my time in Botswana. The opportunities to meet new people from different countries and experience a unique culture full of foods I have never tasted, music I have never heard, and other things that are too new to me that I cannot even begin to imagine them. I daydream about the days when I will be volunteering in the schools, and truly making a difference. The excitement about the endless amount of possibilities I will have to learn and explore overwhelms my worries (although they still exist).
I worry about little things like what clothes I am going to take, and will I bring too much stuff, or not enough? I worry about the fact that I am a picky eater that is going to be living in a new country with new food that I have never tried. I worry about the issues of safety and having to be more cautious while in Botswana than I have to be here at home. But if there were not things that were worrisome and there was not the fear of the unknown, then this adventure would lack excitement! I know I will grow as a person from the challenges that I face during my time abroad, and what a great outcome that would be.
**I wanted to make a note of the “Rebel County” because through research, according to goireland.com, Cork is known as the “Rebel County” due to the high level of rebel activity in the county during the War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War. Read more
Two months in, there are still new experiences around every corner.
Two weeks ago, after much deliberation, the lecturers at UB finally elected to strike. Starting on a Tuesday, we suddenly had a whole week without class! Fortunately, we used our time well. Throwing my lot in with a few other international students, we embarked on a journey to visit the famous salt pans, the giant remains of dried-up Lake Makgadikgadi that stretch across the savanna to the north.
From Gaborone, we got up at four in the morning to catch a bus heading to Francistown. After a 5-hour journey, we switched buses and got on a bus to Maun. We knew that the village we were looking for, Gweta, was somewhere on the way but we didn’t know where. All we knew was to look for a giant anteater on the side of the road. Read more