Departure

Less than two months are all that separates me from embarking on what is sure to be the craziest thing I have yet to do in my short 21 years of life. In what is likely to feel like no time at all, I will be leaving the country for the first time and heading off to Africa. That’s right folks, this will be my first international experience and I am making the absolute most of it by going to a place that is nothing like anything I have ever known.  What am I getting myself into? Well, here’s what I’ve got so far. I am travelling to Ghana where I will be attending the University of Ghana at Legon, located about 10 minutes from the capital city, Accra. I will be staying in a home stay or in on campus dormitories (yet to be determined) and I will be studying everything from Twi (the most commonly spoken language besides English) to Parisitology to traditional African dance. With any luck I will also get the chance to take part in an internship working in the public health field.

Apart from these few items, I know very little about what to expect from my abroad experience. Much of what I will be doing for the course of the semester will be determined after I arrive. So that leaves me with quite a bit of pending unknowns. But, as I always say, control what you can control, so that is exactly what I am attempting to do. First things first, the pre-departure preparations: flights, immunizations, pills, and the ever-daunting packing, among other things. I am happy to report that I have booked my flights, gotten all but one vaccination, and filled my malaria prescription. As for the packing, I must admit that I have not yet figured out how I am going to fit a semester’s worth of things into two suitcases. Guess I’ll have to tackle that one later. Now, with the majority of the logistical preparations taken care of or underway, my focus has shifted toward the mental preparations: I am going to Africa. I have given much effort into preparing myself to take this leap but I am finding that I am coming up empty. I have no idea what to expect and all of the books on African culture and articles on current events are doing little to help. While this may seem to be quite maddening, I am realizing that in a way, not knowing what to expect and not having any standard for what my experience in Ghana should be is actually quite liberating. I have an open mind for what my experience will be and I am ready to fill it with anything and everything that comes my way. The one constant amidst this vast unknown is the maintaining of this personal record. I hope that you will join me for the next few months to experience what I experience and learn what I learn. I will do my very best to share with you every discovery, artifact, triumph, and failure with the only condition being that you keep an open mind as well. You won’t want to miss this; I have a feeling it is going to be rather life changing.

Stay tuned.