Posts Tagged ‘pre-departure’


Holly: Checklist

January 5, 2012

January 18, 2012. 91 days.

That is the day that I take off from Milwaukee, WI, USA and head to Rome, Italy.

It seems a long way off but I just know that it is going to creep up quickly. Especially since now almost all pre-departure items are turned in and complete!

Next week I have my orientation and I am really excited to meet the other kids that will be going to Rome as well!

I have already made a list of things I MUST complete while in Italy (’cause how many times does a kid get to go to Italy??!):

1. Throw a euro (or two)  in the Trevi Fountain

2. Visit The Colosseum & The Pantheon

3. Go on a Wednesday and see the Pope speak at the Vatican

4. Walk through the magnificent Sistine Chapel at St. Peter’s Basilica

5. Admire the beautiful ancient art and the gardens at Galleria Borghese

6. Take a canal ride through Venice

7. Visit Il Duomo and Il Ponte Vecchio in Florence

8. Drink wine and appreciate the Tuscany countryside

9. Take a weekend off and go to Cinque Terre


In addition to this list, I hope to eat lots and lots of great Italian pasta and gelato. I’m also hoping that my host family will teach me their exquisite cooking ways.


Lindsay: Less than 2 weeks and counting

January 4, 2012
A little less than two weeks left til I leave and counting.  I am getting sorta nervous, anxious, excited.  I don’t know if I will ever be prepared enough for something like this, but I think that is what makes it so interesting and thrilling.  I have some idea of what to expect, but who really knows exactly.  They say poverty is something you must overcome while you are there, you must not let it effect you, otherwise it may ruin your whole trip.  
Okay Lindsay-suck it up cupcake, you can do this.  Poverty will be hard at first to see and hard not to want to do something about it.  For example, hand them food or money,  but I must not do that either, for I may get followers and other people wanting food as well.  I was warned to not give things away to people, especially as an American because they know we have money.

Today, I was just assigned my housing and address for the first 6 weeks of my stay in India, and I will have a roommate from the U of M join me in the same house.  Now I only hope the house, well apartment actually, does not have a servant.  I was told many of the upper castes have servants.  Some are even children looking to help make money for their families.  These children often do not get an education.  The family may chose to pay them back by providing them with an education.  This this is very rare and usually happens when the servant is treated like a family member.  Some servants may be treated like family members and may even sleep on an actual bed.  However, they could potentially be treated like dirt and are forced to sleep on the hard ground, and that would be considered socially acceptable.  It would be incredibly rude of me to even make any gesture of sympathy for them.


Tyler: Pre-departure

December 25, 2011

Getting ready for this trip was kind of a struggle. I just got done with finals on Thursday night, the 22nd. I was home in Sartell and saw some people on the 23rd. The 24th and 25th I was busy celebrating Christmas with the family. Christmas night, I found myself struggling to get everything in line. I am now fully packed and ready to go and it is 12:30 am on the 26th. I thought about sleeping for about 3 hours until I needed to go but 1) I’m too afraid of not waking up to my alarm and 2) I just had a full mountain dew and am wide awake. Sooooo….I thought this would be a good time to start this bloggity thing.

My itinerary for Monday, December 26th:

3:30 am  Wake-up
4:00 am Cab arrives
4:30 am Arrive to airport and try to figure out where to go
5:00 am Finally figured out where to go…
7:15 am Flight out of Minneapolis Airport
10:00 am – 12:00 pm Chill in Dallas and then take off again
3:05 pm Arrive in Mexico City to meet up with the rest of the program

I honestly have no idea where it goes from there. I will be studying in Cuernavaca, Mexico. It is just a little but more south than Mexico City. I will be taking a bus with the rest of the program to Cuernavaca but after that it’s really up in the air. I will be staying with an older woman named Gloria Perez along with 3 other guys that are in the program. I’m really excited about some authentic Mexican food and to just be a part of their culture. During my studying abroad, I will be taking a Spanish class from 9am-1pm every day (not sure if that includes weekends or not).

I’m pretty much just going with the flow with this trip. I’m really excited about the experiences that I have coming up and what life is going to be like in Mexico. This is my first time ever leaving the United States! Hopefully I don’t get kidnapped by drug lords and forced to become a drug mule….I’m thinking that is worst case scenario though!


Shawnda: Explore. Dream. Discover. My pre-departure thoughts

June 1, 2011

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
[Mark Twain]

This has been my favorite quote for quite some time now, and I am just beginning to apply it to my life.  I leave in 3 days to what has been my dream destination for about half of my life.  I find myself full of emotions…and all together I can’t tell if I’m so excited I’ll pee my pants or so terrified I’ll throw up. Right now it’s about half and half.  I’m sure I’ll get about 2 hours of sleep within the coming days and stay awake high off of caffeine from work and excited anticipation for my 7 week trip. 
As of now I am more nervous for finding my way through the airports and figuring out how to pack everything without being charged hundreds of dollars in baggage fees.  I’m almost positive I can bring a small ruler as a carry on and a plastic baggie for a checked-in piece of luggage and still be charged 50$ one-way.  I would rather not be tormented by my shrinking bank account while on a two day and 40 minute flight to Gaborone. 

And yes…it will take me two whole days to get there, with approximately 35 of those wonderful 48 hours spent on what will most likely be an uncomfortable plane with several crying children, bad food, scary vortex toilets, and a middle-aged overweight male in my personal space.  Luckily, I will have both my iPod and computer well equipped with books, movies, and music.  That and I’ll pack along some Advil PM to put me to sleep.  

And of course I am nervous to travel with diabetes.  The farthest I’ve gone was to Florida for a week.  I only needed two vials of insulin,  some syringes and my glucose meter.  Now I am equipped with more medical supplies than I would ever want…about 7 vials of insulin, a box of syringes, glucose tabs, ketostix, emergency glucagon kits, test strips, backup lantus, a spare meter, pump supplies, etc. etc….the joys of having a chronic disease.  However, I am happy to be leaving in very good health, and I believe that I am more than capable of taking care of myself and not allowing my diabetes to ruin my time abroad.  I expect some minor complications while getting used to the food and getting sick, but hopefully they will remain minor. 

Despite these nervous pre-departure worries, I cannot wait for what will be the most enriching and eye-opening experience of my life.  As I said, I have wanted to go to Africa for a very long time, and hope to someday spend a large amount of time working in the area.  I am so interested in its culture and landscapes, and also cannot wait to learn more about its history and people.  I will be taking three classes at the University of Botswana in Gabarone: two in public health, and one focused on its language, Setswana, and culture.  

My goals for this experience are to not only travel and see as much as I can, but to also learn what I am meant to be doing with my life.  This is a lofty goal, but I think that learning about public health and living in the environment I would love to work in will help me decide between a career in medicine or a career in public health.  This could not come at a better time for me, considering that I will need to decide between taking the GRE or MCAT this fall (!). 

So..summed up in a few paragraphs, these are my thoughts just a few days before departure.  I’m sure I’ll be posting many more nervous vents within the next hours once I realize how completely unprepared I am and how frustrated I am with packing. 

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