A change of pace.
Jessica LeBlanc 12-23-2011 I have never studied abroad. I always wanted to. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have told you that I would study for a semester or year in France. I studied French for 4 years of high school and all through college. But, things change. Here I am, 10 years later working on a degree I started in 2001. Time has passed, but one thing has not changed. I still want to study abroad. As a full-time employee at the University, my options were limited. My supervisor was the Finance Manager for the Learning Abroad Center at the time and very supportive of me finishing my degree. She recommended the Global Seminars as a way to still experience study abroad, just for a shorter period of time. As an accountant, it would be almost impossible for me to participate in a May/Summer seminar during fiscal year end. This left me with Winter Break options and the South Africa program was a no-brainer. A chance to visit a country that I probably wouldn't easily travel to on my own plus the course content made it an easy choice. I'm going into this experience with an open mind. The 3 orientations and reading we've done in preparation for the course have been a huge help, providing a sense of some things we may experience while there and sights we will see, but I'm treating this is an adventure. Something I don't want to worry about or analyze, but fully experience in the moment. I know there will be very highs and very lows and I'm simply challenging myself to take it in as it comes -- a real test to human nature. For myself, I also hope this helps renew my spirit. The past 10 years have not gone 'to plan,' but I've come to see it as a sort of a blessing. Being able to be a part of this class only proves that -- reinforcing why I chose the major of International Studies all those years ago, the opportunity to break from 'normal' life for 3 weeks, to transform back to a full-time student, see a part of the world some only dream of, and be introduced to a people and place that will leave a life-long impression.