Post by Erin Kelly from Towson University
As the weeks continue and I get more into a routine, I am starting to realize that you can’t actually prepare for going abroad. Yes, of course you can do all of your research, read tons of books, ask a million people, and even try to talk to past participants, but you will never actually be prepared. You may bring the clothes you think people wear at your destination and stock up on health essentials, but nothing will truly prepare you for what you will encounter. I am realizing that the way one should prepare themselves for abroad is to start opening up their mind and going with whatever is thrown their way.
Being open minded and adapting to the place you are in, is the main way of survival while abroad. I learned about survival of the fittest again in class this week and it really put a perspective on my thoughts of being abroad.
“Species that adapt to change, survive.”- Charles Darwin
One can only prepare for living in a foreign place so much. If you can’t adapt and change your mindset to the world that is currently around you, you will have a hard time abroad. Things don’t always go as planned or the way you expected them to, but you have to be flexible and take things as they come. Although it may not be what you had planned, eventually everything does work out. You need to be willing to change and I think that only comes when you are in a situation you are not used to. The area is foreign and the people don’t know you, therefore arguing or getting upset over something is not worth it. So my advice to prpspective study abroaders is don’t get caught up in packing the right stuff or making sure you have everything you need. 95% of the things you NEED will be at your destination. Focus on being able to go with the flow and expecting the unexpected. Some things work out and others don’t, but getting caught up on what it was “supposed to be” is not worth it.
I still find myself needing to remember these things from time to time. Gaborone is an amazing place but completely different from home. There have been bumps in the road and unplanned events, but that is all apart of this amazing journey.
“It’s not the strongest of species that survives or the most intelligent, but those who are more adaptive to change.”