I’m a compulsive planner. For me, the unexpected is far more stressful than any exam or final paper. A friend, upon returning from study abroad in South America, recalled countless moments of unpredictability during her semester, including a time where she arranged to meet with a professor at noon only to find out upon arriving at his classroom that he was teaching until 4 o’clock. Study abroad would be good for me, she said, it would teach me to go with the flow. Naturally, I panicked.
In the past few weeks, I’ve encountered problem after problem that hadn’t previously crossed my mind. First, I visited the Verizon store multiple times in attempt to finagle cell phones abroad. Ultimately, I decided to wait until arrive and just figure it out in Quito.
Next, a friend pointed out to me that I should set up a way to get cash with out expensive ATM fees (fortunately Ecuador uses the US dollar so exchange rates won’t be a problem). My panic began again as I realized I was too late for the necessary paperwork to process in time for my departure. (Solution: the bank agreed to expedite my request.)
Then there’s the scramble to find a suitcase appropriate for this length of travel, deciding on the perfect homestay gift when the only information I’ve been given about my host mother is that she doesn’t have pets, last minute purchases of Imodium and other just-in-case drugs and the list goes on.
While I cannot possibly anticipate every problem (and opportunity) I will encounter, I am adequately prepared. I’ve remained relatively calm throughout the planning process. I’m ready to embrace whatever surprises the semester brings me.
I think I’m finally ready to go with the flow and I couldn’t be more excited for my Quito adventures!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Kate Paladin and I'm an Environmental Studies major, Math minor at Bates College. I am a research assistant studying lake ecosystems, volunteer in an elementary school classroom and perform Bollywood dance. Most people study Spanish and then decide to visit South America, but I did the reverse - after choosing Quito for study abroad, I took my first Spanish class! Although I have just 2 years of Spanish under my belt, I couldn't be more excited to study in Ecuador.</span></p>