If you asked everyone I know to describe me in five words, never would you hear the word “adventurous.” I have lived in the same house in Maryland since I turned two and have only travelled off of the east coast twice, neither of those times being outside of our country’s borders. With this being the case, my emotions are running high in anticipation for my winter study abroad trip. Of course there is the jumping-up-and-down level of excitement, but that feeling is accompanied by a certain amount of fear.
The things I am looking forward to and the things I am nervous about are not mutually exclusive. Part of the reason I chose this course was because Thailand is very different from the United States. I want to get the experience of interacting with a culture that I can’t easily relate to in order to broaden my perspective on the different values held around the world. At the same time, I am scared I will accidentally violate some cultural norm and offend someone without knowing it. Not knowing a single word of the Thai language doesn’t help to ease this fear. I have no doubt that this journey through an entirely new place will be beneficial to me in many ways, but before I can recognize those benefits I have to work my way through the logistics of navigating a different culture (not to mention a foreign airport).
Apart from the location, the content of this course particularly interests me. I hope to eventually steer my post-graduate career in the direction of nonprofit administration, and this course will provide experience working directly with a nonprofit organization. We will be working with the branch of the Christian Children’s Care Foundation for Disabled Children located in Bangkok. While the majority of our work will be in consulting and fundraising, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to play with the kids as well. I hope these experiences will help me to grow not only as a person but as a businesswoman as well.
When moving into my college dorm for the first time, I hung up the quote “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I allowed this quote to lead me to the pursuit of new clubs and activities here on campus, and now it is taking me across the world. This opportunity is truly once in a lifetime, and I plan to use it for all it is worth.