It doesn’t seem real that I am leaving tomorrow. I have traveled throughout the United States with my family, but never have I traveled this far and never to a place where the culture, history, and language were so unfamiliar. So many times I have been asked ‘why are you going on this trip?’ I give responses that talk about my desire to expand my knowledge of the global practice of social work. To challenge my beliefs about my own privilege, power and positionality in the world. I also think that fear is a motivator. I feel as though the things in my life that I have been afraid of and that I have managed to face head on have truly changed me for the better. Things like moving to Colorado on a whim and applying to graduate school, last minute trips with new friends, and diving in to scary career roles with little experience. Each instance in which I have felt fearful of something to the point of considering avoiding it, have made me grow in ways unexpected. These are the reasons I think I am going to South Africa and anticipate and hope for a lot of personal and professional growth. However, I am curious and anxious to see what really will come of this experience. What will happen that I cannot predict? What if I hate it and the minute I arrive wish I could turn back to the comfort of home? I am hopeful that I will make connections with not only the social workers I will shadow, but also my peers in this program. Being an advanced standing student I have felt less connected to the DU GSSW program and its students that I had hoped. I had such a connection in my undergrad to my school and my cohort that the lack of connection now makes me feel sort of sad and lost. It’s hard to find the time to devote to clubs and other extra-curricular activities when I am managing a full course load, internship, job and personal life. All in all, as I send off on this 26+ hr. journey, I am anxious, excited, hopeful, and optimistic!