Tag Archives: ISA

Everyone’s Worst Fear

As I sat through study abroad orientations, I tended to tune out during the short section where insurance is mentioned. I rarely get sick and I have never broken a bone in my entire life. I like to think my body is pretty resilient; even when I am sick, I simply sleep it off and I am fine within the next two to three days. No meds needed. An even less of a problem for me is my dental health, but it just so happened that exactly three weeks left in my program, I needed a root canal. Continue reading

Midway Spanish Language Check-in

Before traveling abroad, it is important to set goals for what you want to accomplish in-country. One of my goals, as well as the reason why I want to study in Latin America, is to learn Spanish. Personally, I always set high goals for myself, because I believe even if I fall short of the grand goal I wanted to achieve, I will land pretty far along on the path in eventually achieving the goal. In Peru, my grand goal was to be fluent in Spanish. I recognize this is an absolutely ridiculous goal to have, but I believe that I am moving pretty far along on my journey.

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Welcome to the jungle

My last journey through the diverse landscape of Peru was in a city called Iquitos. Iquitos is a city that is situated right on the intersection of the Amazon River and another smaller river leading up to the amazon. The streets of the city are filled with more motorbikes than cars; as they drive through the town, they ignore the lanes that are marked on the road. The humidity that hangs in the air is accompanied by warmth instead of the bone chilling coldness in Lima. We planned to spend the night in the city of Iquitos me and, the next day, to board a boat to arrive at our final destination, which was a resort on the edge of the jungle.

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Uncovering the Meaning Behind the Flag

Walking down the streets of Cusco me and my friends were shocked to see rainbow flags flying everywhere. On every corner and in front of every business there was a flag flying, including in the main square at the center of town. We thought we finally had found the holy grail of LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

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First Time Backpacking

After the stressful weeks leading up to finals I received a long week off from school. During our break the ISA program that I am traveling with planned an excursion to the cities of Ica and Paracas. This excursion was only two days and one night long, we still had a whole week ahead of us with no classes and no activities. This was a perfect opportunity to extend our travel and explore more of Peru. A few of us planned to stay behind in Paracas to continue our journey. Continue reading

Being Black abroad: Do you see yourself?

In this blog post, I am specifically writing to my minority readers.

As you begin to settle into the routine of life abroad, you begin to look around. You become aware of the people around you. The realization that there is no one around that looks like you hits you. For me, this means every single room I walk into, I am the darkest person with the coarsest hair. I immediately stand out.  Continue reading

Who Discovered America

The Native American population is arguably one of the most underrepresented populations in the United States. In the US 2% of the population is Native American compared to Peru’s 25.7% indigenous population. While there is a significant difference in the amount of indigenous people in the US, there are also significant differences in how both Peru and the United States treat their indigenous community. Continue reading

“You are Missing Out on So Much Food”

To be completely honest, being a vegetarian in a Latin American country is not ideal. While in North America we have a huge vegan and vegetarian movement, the movement has not quite picked up the same momentum in South America. While it is a struggle, it is definitely not impossible. Continue reading

“Studying Abroad is Basically a Vacation, Right?”

The typical study abroad student posts beautiful pictures on Instagram of the beach. On their snapchat story they include the geo-tag of the cool location they are visiting that weekend. Friends comment “live your best life”, hyping up each and every picture vicariously living through their experience.This all contributes to the perception that studying abroad is a semester long vacation. As much as I wish I could write about life changing trips to the beach sipping margaritas on a Tuesday afternoon, I can’t. Continue reading

What They Do Not Tell You about Learning a Language

My decision to study abroad was mainly influenced by my desire to learn a language. The reason that I have only studied abroad in Latin American/Spanish speaking countries is because I believe in order to have a truly authentic experience one must know the language or have an idea of the language, but that is a topic for another blog post. My strong feelings about language learning pushed me to have a learning experience outside the classroom. I felt in the US learning a language was such a sterile process. Continue reading

The LAST Blog Post

“It was about my fifth time I was rereading my host mom’s name, “Carmen”. I had waited weeks and weeks for the information about my host family to arrive. I quickly called my mom to tell her about the family. The months leading up to the trip I was eager to tell everyone I was going to Costa Rica but, in this moment it all became real. I was going to be traveling to another country by myself. I had limited information about what I was going to be doing once I got there, and I had very limited knowledge about Costa Rica. There have been a few times this week, where I could not even talk about leaving home without crying. I honestly have no idea what I am doing and who I am going to be with.“ Continue reading

Why Would You Ever Do That?

While abroad, I have stayed in contact with a few of my friend back at home. Coincidentally, one of my two friends I have kept up with is studying abroad this summer in Europe. When messaging in our group chat I jokingly asked my other friend, “When are you going to study abroad?” This joke quickly turned into a small debate we always have. She wonders why I would want to leave Michigan and accumulate debt, when I could simply stay at home in order to work to save up money to pay for college. I think the easiest way to justify my choice is to explain the importance of experiential learning. Continue reading

What It Means to Be A Tourist

Part of the ISA program includes going on two excursions; the first being to a beautiful national park called Manuel Antonio. This national park has two beautiful beaches but, in order to get to the beaches, you must walk through a lush rainforest. Monkeys can be heard in the distance, little crabs dig holes in the dirt, and sloths hang in the trees. The second excursion is the Arenal Volcano. We did not visit the volcano, but the volcano could be seen in the distance. We stayed in a secluded resort 15 minutes from the nearest town. These two excursions were equally beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay during both weekend trips. While on these trips, I began to think about tourism. Continue reading

Open to Connections

The number one problem I foresaw when studying abroad was making new friends. I am very selective when it comes to choosing friends. Friendship is one of the most important things in this life. Choosing to talk to or hang out with someone solely because you like who they are as a person is pretty profound and should not be taken lightly. Also, friends say a lot about you are as well. Therefore, I find myself being selective about the friends I make. When in a situation where I am meeting new people for the first time I simply just sit and observe in order to gauge the personalities’ of others. I realized this slightly judgmental approach would not fly when I left the country. There would only be a small number of individuals who are part of my program and an even smaller group of individuals in my classes. Therefore, I made it one of my goals to get off of my social high horse and be open to making a diverse group of friends. I was quickly reminded of this goal when I arrived in San Jose. Continue reading