It’s time! Here marks the beginning of my study abroad trip to Peru! I can’t believe it! I am sitting in the Dallas Fort Worth International airport right now awaiting my international flight to Lima and it still doesn’t seem real. As I told my grandma last night, I don’t think it will hit me until I get there.
I’m not entirely sure what to expect. Granted, I have researched for hours in preparation. But no amount of research is comparable to experiencing something in real life. I think that my host culture will be surprising. Peruvian culture is much different than American culture, so there will be a lot of adjusting to do. I am expecting culture shock and I have brought information about what to do when that sets in. I think that once I get past it, I will more easily dive in and try my best to live like a local.
I am both very excited and very nervous to spend four and a half months abroad. I have been planning this trip for months and months (six maybe?) and now it’s real life. Wow. I’m excited to learn the language, material from my classes, street smarts, how to live in a big city and how to do so independently, but I am most excited to learn about myself. For all of you who love psychology, you could say I’m still in Erik Erikson’s “identity vs. confusion” stage, which essentially means that I am still trying to answer the question, “who am I?” Hopefully this trip will continue to point me in the right direction. I am also looking forward to seeing many parts of the country and tasting all of their yummy cuisine.
As for the nerves, I’m past airport security, so those have definitely decreased. One of the things I have learned so far on this trip is that airport security makes me feel a little anxious. I also got a crash course on the best way to board an airplane, how to not hit people with my bags, and I learned that backing up to an open overhead bin once yours is full is next to impossible. As for the nerves pertaining to being in a new country, I have a lot of them. The first is homesickness. I’ve never been away from my family for more than five weeks, so four and a half months will be a challenge. I grew up in the country and have been on public transit less than five times in my life, so I am nervous about getting around a city as huge as Lima, which is home to about nine million people. Not being fluent in Spanish is another concern, as I have only taken through the 100-level sequence at WOU. However, I seem to acquire it naturally and retain it fairly well, so I’ve got that on my side. The last big thing that I am nervous about is breaking out of my bubble. I have a bit of anxiety when it comes to social situations, so this is hopefully going to be a time of growth for me. I have been mentally preparing for months to go completely alone to a country where I know nobody and only know a fraction of the language, so hopefully my personal pep-talks will get through to my stubborn self and I will make friends, talk to people often, learn lots of social skills (and Spanish), and it will all be fabulous.
I think that despite all of my worries, I will find that I am well prepared. I have done countless hours of research and have had plenty of time to prepare. I was raised to be smart, cautious, and independent. I am a natural problem solver and have learned how to be very resourceful. I have my faith, which helps me to be positive and see the bright side of all situations. I have God by my side every step of the way to guide and protect me. I am grateful for all of these things and because of them I am prepared.
Finally, I am so thankful to everyone who has helped make this trip possible: WOU staff, CISabroad staff, my CISabroad advisor Brian, who has put up with my multitude of questions, my family, and so many others who have been my emotional support, listened to me talk on and on about my trip, and given me advice and warm wishes. I am so blessed to have each and every one of you in my life.
Until next time,
Here are some photos to represent what I am expecting: