The few weeks before studying abroad were a whirlwind for me. The entire month of August was actually. On August 2nd I turned 21 and spent the weekend celebrating with friends and family. The next weekend I was camping in Winlock, Washington and the following weekend I was at a conference in Los Angeles, California. I came back from LA on Sunday the 18th and came into the week needing to prepare for both finals week and for the study abroad program!
On Monday, I worked a full 8 hour shift, then went to a photoshoot. On Tuesday I went to class and then had to go to get my travel vaccines. I ended up getting 6 vaccinations, 3 prescribed medicines, and blood work done. My doctor informed me that I would need to have the blood work done again, 3 months after I returned from Bolivia. At this time I was happy because I finally got my vaccinations done, but on the other hand I was even more nervous because the program was finally happening.
Throughout the summer I faced some challenges in getting prepared for the program, like getting my new passport and reinstating my insurance, but this was finally the last hurdle and it became reality that I was leaving in two days. I also became more nervous thinking more about all of the diseases I could contract while in Bolivia, but I calmed myself thinking about my past trips to the Philippines and how everything has been okay following those. Part of my “pre-departure” feelings were also suppressed just because I was running around getting other things prepared, like finishing the quarter and leaving work and my student organizations, so I was pretty calm until I finished my last final on Thursday morning and then had to go home and get ready for my flight that evening.
Preparing for this study abroad was very touch and go for me. There were times where I was very stressed feeling like I needed to get so many things done, and there were other times where it was in the back of my mind and my other priorities didn’t let me think much about it. Things like the pre-departure meeting with Professor Cowgill and Courtney from the OGA, and the groupchat me and the other Bolivia students have, has all been very helpful and allowed me to prepare the smaller logistics of the trip!
Stay tuned for more!