In a way, I feel like this abroad experience was meant to happen for me. As I've shared in our pre-departure meetings, I was originally planning to study abroad in France, over May term in 2011. Finals were approaching, packing had begun, and the money was down. And then it was over. I had been miserably sick with chronic sinus infections and other icky illnesses over the course of spring semester, and antibiotic after antibiotic, things only got worse. I finally met with an ENT/surgeon who told me that there was no way that I would be fly, let along make it through a three-week abroad experience. After various tests and scans I found out I needed to have surgery. I began the appeal process, and never got on the plane to France. I was devastated. I decided it wasn't meant to be, and over time, I realized that wasn't the kind of experience I was really looking for. I began to talk to advisers and other students in my major, and learned about Tracing the Footsteps of Social Change. Throughout my college experience, I have gained both academic and personal passions for social justice issues and frameworks, and because of that, I couldn't possible think of a better or more appropriate learning abroad opportunity.
Throughout this experience, I expect to feel anxious, nervous, uncomfortable, lonely, self-conscious, and even ashamed. I also expect to feel joyous, excited, passionate, compassionate, empowered, and loving, among other positive emotions. I hope that I feel all of these things, and that I am able to work through all of these emotions and new experiences to learn more about myself through the stories of others. I also know that I can't have too many expectations going in to this adventure. My main goals for this trip are to step out of my comfort zone, build positive relationships, and to keep an open mind and heart along the way. Also, if there is ever a time to get over a fear of flying, I guess this is it (EEEEK)! Cape Town, here we come!
Love to you all, and happy holidays!