Wait, What? One More Week? Woah.

I kind of thought I’d be the traveling expert by now, but now that I’m just one week away from leaving for Ghana, all of my familiar insecurities, anxieties, fears, and doubts are starting to surface. Study abroad had been the college experience I looked forward to the most over the years, but right now I’m trying to not have thoughts of “What the Hell am I doing?!” implant itself permanently in my mind. It’s probably normal that I’m nervous, that I’m second-guessing myself a little bit. I mean, this is almost 5 months of being away in a completely foreign environment. For somebody who always sometimes  feels awkward in new social situations, this is going to be my biggest test yet. Yes, I’ve traveled alone before, but I’ll be gone for a substantially longer period of time and will have to, you know, study and stuff, at the same time that I make my probable possible social blunders.

Luckily, mingling with my feelings of doom and gloom is excitement. I don’t have many passions, but traveling, visiting new places, experiencing other ways of life top the list. I’m really looking forward to living, learning, and working in Ghana and I know it will be a really amazing experience for me going forward both academically and professionally. Since, ya know,  I’m such an academic and professional person and all. And while I make a big deal about how socially…stunted…I am, I always seem to end up with at least a couple friends wherever I end up…even if it takes a bit longer than most for these friendships to form. I’ll have to be patient, but also make some kind of effort. Or maybe I’ll get lucky and everyone in the program will have a bizarre predilection for borderline-embarrassing 20-year-old boys. Yeah. I’ll go with that.

I’m prepared for this to be hard, at least at first, and it’ll be really important to have and do things that ground me, to help when I’m overwhelmed. Updating this blog frequently will be a part of that, and I can’t wait to share everything! Hopefully I’ll find some time during Orientation/before classes start on August 13 to give an update. I’ll give a detailed explanation of what classes I take, where I end up working, and what else the program has in store for me when I know that myself! Gosh…I really know nothing. Yikes.

Until then…pray for me, thanks for reading! Here’s my current song obsession:

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Study Abroad is Ghana be Great!

Well, I’m exactly one month away from leaving for Africa where I will be spending my fall semester at the University of Ghana. Woah. I haven’t really let myself think about it too much, but now things are really starting to sink in. There is no turning back, anxiety is starting to percolate, doubts are setting in. So basically…I really have to get my shit together. I can’t believe my summer is quickly coming to a close, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that time flies even when I’m not having that much fun.

I’m pretty much going in blindly, not knowing much about Ghana’s history, the University, the language, the culture. I should probably start doing something about that; maybe I’ll read some Ghanaian news online and learn a few basic words in Twi. I’ll buy a book or something. We’ll see. I wish I knew what internship I’m going to have (either at an orphanage, a school, or a medical clinic), but either way I know it will be a challenging, rewarding experience. In the mean time, I have online orientation tomorrow morning, so hopefully I’ll know more then.

Sometimes I really can’t believe how ridiculous my life is. Conventionality is apparently not my favorite word and I guess I’m more adventurous than I thought I was. Seeing as much of the world as I possibly can is one of my main goals, but I never really thought I’d be making my second trip to Africa by the time I’m 20. When it came down to it, I chose Ghana because I found a great development program based there, and if development is what I want a career in, studying in Paris or Sydney wouldn’t be the most rewarding choice. If I can say one positive thing about myself (a rare occurrence), it’s that I always make decisions that hopefully benefit my future.

I spent a lot of this past month re-reading the journal I kept while in Botswana/South Africa last summer. On my last post, on June 30, 2011, I spent a while reflecting on my experiences, what I got out of it and what I learned about myself. The trip affirmed my interest in international development, and when I wrote that “I know this won’t be my last trip to Africa” I probably didn’t think I’d be going back 13 months later.  I’ve written about how socially inept I am, but after a few days of awkwardness and uncertainty I managed to forge some pretty great relationships and realized that maybe some people might actually like being around me! Who knew!! (I didn’t). So hopefully something similar will happen this time around. I’ve never been good at putting effort into creating friendships, so being less passive and being more outgoing is something I’ll work on with the help of alcohol. I’ll just use my awkwardness and self-deprecating humor to my advantage. Yeah. I’ll go with that.

As I wrote on June 1, 2011 on the plane to South Africa, “Here I am, once again I’m torn into pieces embarking on another ridiculous journey to the unknown.” I can’t wait to share this journey with you guys; the good, the bad, the embarrassing (a give-in), the surprising…I’ll try to not leave anything out. Pictures will be provided too!

If you don’t hear from me for awhile, it’s probably because I rode off into the sunset on the back of an elephant the internet isn’t the greatest.

Title credit goes to Hayley McDermott!