Back in May, when I registered for the South Africa course I had a very limited idea of what exactly I was signing up for. With a love for travel and an interest in international social work, I enrolled (or rather sat on the waitlist until there was room) in the course hoping to journey to a country on my bucket list and dabble in work that would continue to help my figure out what I want to do when I graduate.
The big draw in choosing the South Africa course, was the wilderness component. I have had a good amount of wilderness experience and felt excited at the opportunity to apply my personal passions into potential professional ventures through this experience. What I am realizing, as we start to learn more about what we are participating in, is how different this wilderness experience will be in comparison to my previous trips. Using the gear provided and following an itinerary that is not my own is something very different than I am used to. While nature is always the one with the last say, my experience in the backcountry has always been my own, on my agenda, with my own process. I’m excited to let go of the reigns in this experience and really be a participant this time around instead of a facilitator, and ultimately see what unfolds as a result.
With less than two weeks out before our departure, I am realizing how lucky I am at having the opportunity to participate in this course. Although my only knowledge about what to expect has happened in a classroom thousands of miles from where we are headed, the assigned reading, videos, and class meetings have helped me to realize the rich culture and community this country has to offer, learn and grow from.