I can’t believe that this trip is finally upon us! It’s been a pretty surreal experience for me thus far trying to wrap my head around preparing for a trip that I feel incapable of anticipating for. I’m a natural overpacker so keeping this pack light has been beyond frustrating because I want to be prepared for everything. Now that the semester is over as well as the holidays, I feel completely discombobulated and nervous, but more than anything I am so excited to have this amazing opportunity. I am excited to see another country, get my ass kicked in culture shock, have a bunch of first experiences including backpacking, staying in a hostel, and going on a safari. I do not think I can truly be prepared for experience of a completely different culture other than my own, the time that will be spent in the townships, and volunteering with the social work agencies, but I am so looking forward to expanding my awareness and pushing my comfort zone. This will be the wildest thing I have ever done and I am so ecstatic that it will be with a group of incredible social workers.
Part of my nervousness stems from seeing what individuals in another country live like who have been torn apart by war, poverty, crime, and disease. My United States lens is significantly limiting for my global understanding, especially considering I have rarely left the East coast in my lifetime. Reading about the lived experiences of South Africans and the history of the nation is one thing, but having a first-hand experience will be a completely different knowledge base. I am curious to see what it’s like, but I am concerned about witnessing upsetting circumstances. Although these harsh realities exist, it is not something that I have ever witnessed before and I am an odd combination of grateful and apprehensive for this opportunity. Overall, I have great confidence that this will be immensely important to my personal and professional development, and I am beyond eager to get to Cape Town!