Marquette University To Cape Town, South Africa
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Marquette University To Cape Town, South Africa

I'm trying to accept that things are going to change, no matter how much I prepare for it.

Marquette University To Cape Town, South Africa

For the second semester of my sophomore year, I am studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa... and I am terrified. Terrified, but also more excited than I have ever been. For 5 months I will be volunteering, studying, and living on a completely new continent almost 9000 miles away from home. Just saying that out loud sends chills down my back and makes my heart beat faster. I know this experience will change my life as I know it and just that simple fact is daunting.

There have been very few times in my life that I have felt this out of control. While I can go through my packing list 100 times, double-check my flight information until I have it memorized, take all safety measures possible, and learn everything I can about South Africa - things will happen that I am just not prepared for.

When thinking about going halfway across the world in less than two months, my feelings are all over the place. My mother is constantly in a state of having a panic attack, while my step-dad has spent hours researching and talking with travel agents, and my sister is already dusting off her passport.

I booked my flights over Thanksgiving break ($$$) which makes all of this even more real. Delta gives me a countdown to my flight (57 DAYS!!!) which is absolutely crazy to think about. To put that into perspective, in 1,368 hours I will be taking off for my biggest life adventure thus far and spending 45% of the year 2018 in foreign parts of the world.

Subnote on exactly what I am doing: Marquette has an - amazing - study abroad program where 20 students, some from Marquette and others from other Jesuit universities around the country, go live in a house in Cape Town, South Africa for a whole semester, spending half the time going to school at the University of the Western Cape and the other half volunteering at a local service site.

People always ask why I chose South Africa when Marquette offers numerous programs all around Europe and other "popular" destinations. This is when I take a second to review all the things in my life that have brought me to the place where I am: the events that have made me who I have become. To some, South Africa might look like a random choice or a 6-month long safari, but not to me. I have been envisioning volunteering in Africa since my freshman year of high school but have never had a clear opportunity until now. Marquette is giving me the opportunity to go across the world and help people in ways I would never be able to in America.

Even while thinking about all the amazing things I will be doing within the next couple of months, my mind is all over the place when thinking about the "what if's." For the next couple of weeks, my goal is to come to a place between having a complete freak-out and being sedated. All the while, trying to be at peace knowing that worrying about the things I can't control won't make them go away.

I'm planning on starting a travel blog in which I will post about my adventures and experiences in South Africa (when I make that official you will be able to find the link on my Odyssey profile, Facebook, and Twitter). After my trip has concluded, I'm hoping to have a detailed packing list to post with tips on what I really used and stuff I never touched, as well as an overview on how I managed my mental illness abroad. I hope you all will think about following my journey abroad!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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