This is my first post on this blog, and possibly the only one before I leave for Lima, Peru the Fall 2014 semester.
Basically, my whole summer has revolved around planning and preparing for this trip…and I’m not even finished yet! I’ve packed all I can possibly fit into my luggage – which includes layers of clothes, toiletries, and gifts for my host family revolving around the Arch, my university (the University of Missouri – Columbia, Mizzou), and the Cardinals since I am from St. Louis, MO. I’ve printed out my insurance cards, filled out all forms needed of me (passport, IFSA information, etc.), bought a TON of travel items, and even cut my hair! This preparation process has taught me that my everyday belongings are incredibly American and not entirely appropriate for travel.
BUT there are a couple of things I still need to do. I would like to utilize the contact information given to me by family and friends of people who have lived or are currently living in Peru. I feel like conversing with these people about my expectations versus the reality would really be beneficial. Also, I have not practiced too much Spanish (reading or listening) this summer. I am crunched for time because I babysit during the week and volunteer on the weekends, but I know that I’m capable of fitting an hour or so into my schedule each night. Lastly, I need to finish reading blogs from previous students who traveled to Peru through IFSA. Their experiences could tell me a lot about what to expect and how to react to situations I am unprepared for!
I will miss my family and friends A LOT during these long 4.5 months that I’m away. But every time I feel uneasy about the duration of time we will be apart, I stop and think of how wonderful it is that we have the technology today to connect with others around the world whenever we please, and that gives me comfort. This is is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I need to take full advantage of. I hope to come back more fluent in Spanish, more open-minded about the world around me, and more educated about the social problems facing Peru today.