There remain a mere twenty-one days before I make my way south for a semester in Cusco, Perú. The countdown has begun. However, the magnitude of the journey on which I am about to embark has yet to sink in. The anxiety that accompanies the anticipation of parting with familiarity is easy to shrug off as I busy myself with preparation. I know that the weight of the transition will not fully register until I’m finally left with just my bags and my thoughts as I wait for my departing flight in the Nashville International Airport. Nevertheless, I feel confident in my ability to adapt to the uneasiness that comes with diving into a new language and culture. Everyone has their own unique methods in readying themselves for travel, so I thought I’d start this blog out by sharing my top 4 essentials in preparing for a semester abroad. Read more
Posts from the ‘ELAP℠’ Category
Graffiti has always been an obsession of mine. There’s a sort of resourcefulness and a certain passion that is displayed in various types that just screams the human need to be heard, to be remembered and to express oneself. Perhaps this is why, in places where expression is regulated or suppressed, messages spring up like weeds in a garden. Read more
Welcome, adventurous souls, to paradise. Whether you are a surfer, a hiker, a photographer or just an adrenaline junkie, I guarantee you can get your fix in Costa Rica. In the past month I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel from the Caribbean to the mountains and across the country to the Pacific. I have been able to fly through Costa Rica’s bio-diverse forests and crash into its waters. Therefore, today I thought I’d take a moment to share what you have waiting for you here in my beautiful host country. Read more
A little while back I had the opportunity to visit Monteverde, a destination at the peak of the continental divide, rich with adventure and beauty. During our trip, we decided to tour a local coffee and sugar cane plantation called Don Juan. Though the company does not grow cacao on site, with the cooperation of nearby farms, Don Juan is able to dedicate about half of their tour to the processing. Read more
I walk along the backstreets of Cusco, and I find half-finished houses that are being occupied by full families, culture that isn’t for sale, and people who are nice to me because I am another person and not because they hope I will give them money. My housemate and I hike up nearby mountains that loom over our neighborhood, itching for adventure and the peace that can only be found on a mountaintop. We play in Incan ruins and take naps in a hammock overlooking suburban Cusco. We buy water in jugs bigger than our torsos and sleep way more than we’re used to because being two miles up in the air isn’t a joke, after all.
Mayrenes Figuereo is a student at Norfolk State University and an ISA guest blogger. Mayrenes participated on the ISA Summer 2 2014 program (Study Abroad + ISA-ELAP Service-Learning and Internship) in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The reflective essay below was submitted to ISA-ELAP as part of her program portfolio and is being republished with permission.
Somebody asked me about what I do at the Comedor Infantil (Dining Hall for Children). Basically, here’s how the conversation went:
Me: Well.. I just kind of watch them and make sure they don’t fight, and I play with them and stuff..
Cara (a very good friend I met in the Dominican Republic, who was also interning/ volunteering): She’s being modest. She’s kind of like Steve from The Jerry Springer Show… except for she’s breaking up fights between little kids.
I have spent countless hours fantasizing about travel. I was the girl, staring out the window of my classrooms, imagining how many countries I had yet to see and the adventure of digging my toes into each and every one. The girl who had the National Geographic subscription and the world map on my dorm room wall, and who was seriously considering getting “Wanderlust” tattooed on my skin before it became a Pinterest and Tumblr phenomenon. I had so frequently and so vividly imagined myself on foreign soil that it felt vastly strange when I landed on this Chilean dirt six weeks ago and moved from romanticized daydreams into real life. Read more
It is challenging to imagine a lifestyle that is not your own until you have lived it. I have been a functioning member of the Costa Rican society for the past two weeks, and I am proud to share that I may just have made the leap from a girl from the U.S. to a full-fledged Tica. The journey has had its challenges, but it has taught me to see our world in a different way. Here are some tips for those planning on going to Costa Rica, as well as some general advice on going abroad! Read more