Before entering into college I told family and friends alike that I wanted to leave the country. After having had the chance to embark on a month-long journey throughout Europe through the Experiment in International Living (EIL) Program at Temple University’s UCCP I knew that I needed to leave again. This was an awe-inspiring experience that opened my eyes up to what the world had to offer and broadened my horizons.
Ever since I left Barcelona, Spain, Frankfurt, Germany, Niem, Paris, and Perpignan France I vowed that I would go abroad again but for a more extensive trip.
Fast-forward four summers later, beginning my senior year of college and I am about to go abroad again. This time I will be traveling to South Africa.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS:
This year I hastily applied to a study abroad program in South Africa right before the deadline. I was told over and over that it was unlikely that I would get a spot in the program due to the fact I had applied so late and there was a lot of paperwork and requirements that needed to be met. I disregarded all of the people that warned that I shouldn’t get my hopes up and went through with the application process. Since I had told myself year after year that I would go aboard again and this was my last chance to make that dream my reality I wanted to exhaust all possibilities before throwing the towel in for good. Of course there were moments when I began to doubt my chances of studying abroad but I did my best to not stress about the application decision since I did all that I could. A week later I was accepted into the study abroad program and also discovered that I would have the amazing opportunity to hold an internship with a development agency and given three home stays where I’d live with a family from the different regions I visit. This gives me a chance to go beyond the walls of the classroom and apply the skills that I would be learning.
THE WAITING GAME
I am a person who prides themselves on transformation and growth. I tend to get restless when surrounded by the same scenery (both literally and metaphorically) for too long and therefore need a chance to periodically change dramatically. I believe this is another reason why I knew I would want to study abroad during my collegiate career. Now having been accepted into the program I am in the planning stages of what I will need to bring, finalizing necessary documents and making sure I have the funds to get all that I can from this semester long experience.
MINIMIZING MY WARDROBE:
I have come to the realization that I may need to rethink my clothes options because typically when I dress I like to go by my mood. This results in my outfit theme and style changing daily from green sweats and a furry sweater that give off a Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century vibe to thigh-high boots and a t-shirt dress that make you think Rihanna. However, now that I will have to move around between three different home-stays, interning and be expected to maintain a good academic standing I will need pieces that I can effortlessly mix-n-match. I won’t have the luxury to pick an outfit based on my mood of the day so I need versatile pieces. I want to revamp my closet with simple simple blacks, grays, olives and nude tones and scarfs, blazers and such as statement pieces.
DIY (ALMOST) EVERYTHING:
Why buy things that you can make yourself? I have dedicated my summer to incorporating DIY products into my life in order to prepare my self for my travels. I can only imagine the little creature comforts that I will miss while abroad and therefore thought it would be a great idea to start making my own toothpaste, deodorants, scalp cleansers, face washes, antibiotic ointments, and so much more. I look online for simple recipes that usually include the staple product that most people have in their homes: BAKING SODA. By making my own products I will not only cut costs but also give myself a revitalizing sense of independence.
My hair will NOT be a DIY venture I take on during the trip. I know I won’t have the time or energy to do my classic flat-twist with all that I am being asked to do on a daily basis (i.e. class, interning, home-stays, etc.) That being said, I plan on getting braids that will stay in for a good portion of the trip. A quarter through the trip I will either take them out and get them redone while abroad or I may give my hair some time to breath and wear it out naturally. I have also been entertaining the idea of getting a tapered cut or even shorter. (GASPPP) Stay tuned…
STAYING IN THE KNOW:
Since this amazing trip will entail many unique experiences I feel as though it is vital that I document my trip through blogging and (hopefully) vlogging in order to keep my readers updated on what’s going on while I’m abroad. If you have anything in particular you would like me to cover PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE feel free to reach out and email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tweet (@mymomentsss), or Insta (@mymomentsss) me. The topics can include specific themes relating to my personal experience being a black American in South Africa or as vague as how to mentally prepare for a semester abroad. Any and all suggestions are welcome!