Change Yourself…Change The World.

A Little Bit About The Next Four Months
August 19, 2009, 6:06 am
Filed under: Costa Rica, Paraguay, USA

Hi friends,

Well, I leave for Costa Rica in 5 days. To be honest, I am not prepared to start this semester. To me, it feels like I just ended a semester a few weeks ago. I finished a SIXTY-FOUR page paper about Grameen Bank and Grameen Solutions that I submitted to Global College only last week. Now, suddenly, next week I am starting another new, crazy experience, that will take up lots of time, reflection, writing… and learning to speak a language fluently (finally. I’ve been traveling for two years, you’d think I would have one down by now).

So just to give you the low-down/down-low on what I’ll be doing for the next four months, here it is: I am starting my second-to-last semester at Global College; the independent study semester (ISS). An ISS is required of all students at Global College. The premise is that the student can choose anywhere they want to study in the world (as long as it’s not on travel warning by the US government), in any subject (as long as it is approved by Global College administration). The student facilitates the programming, the contacts, the credit breakdown, the housing, travel, accommodation, etc. It is a very strenuous experience (especially since this is the first time Global College is doing this program, so they are pretty much making up rules as they go along, which is very frustrating for us students who have no idea how to navigate ourselves through an ISS)- however, it is very freeing because it gives you the opportunity to study WHATEVER you want in WHATEVER location you choose, and it teaches you a lot about responsibility and facilitating your own experience. The goal of the work you do in your ISS is to eventually elaborate on in your thesis (which you write your final senior semester, at the capstone in Brooklyn).

So, here is my independent study semester (and what I will be doing for the next four months): I will be going to Costa Rica for a month (where there is a Global College Center, which all of the freshmen are required to go to) to study intensive Spanish, get an introduction on Latin American culture and issues, and get a sort of ground base going for my Independent Study Semester (my advisor, who is there to coach and guide me through all of this, is at the Costa Rica Center).
Then, around mid-September, I fly to Paraguay to do a two month micro-finance internship with Fundación Paraguaya. The basis of my independent study semester is to study whether micro-finance is an effective means of poverty alleviation (and also gaining experience working with an NGO). So I will be spending a lot of my time traveling around the country with the director and taking interviews from borrowers (the people who take out loans).

But that’s not all, friends. My school semester is starting so early because I want it to end early. I plan to finish up my semester mid-November, so that I will have about five weeks of travel time. After I finish up my internship at Fundación Paraguaya, I plan to go right to Argentina (hitting up Buenos Aires and then WWOOFing it for a week), then heading over to Chile (Santiago, Easter Island), going straight up into Bolivia and onto Peru (doing the Macchu Picchu trek), and finally ending in Ecuador (Quito and the Galapagos Islands).

It should be a crazy, exhausting, stressful, fulfilling four months. Truthfully, I am very burned out from traveling for the past year, and I am not ready to leave home yet. Today I started getting myself mentally prepared for another 4 month trip- I restocked on supplies, got my camera ready, and ran a whole bunch of leaving-related errands- and it hit me even harder than before how reluctant I am to leave the US next Monday.

However, my tank is not completely on empty. Let’s see if the fuel left in my tank will last for another four months. I hope so. Well, I suppose I complain now, but I know it will. I am going back out into the world and having the amazing opportunity to TRAVEL and see the WORLD again! I will not spend my time whining about how tired I am.

Costa Rica, Paraguay, and all of you other lovely countries: get ready, here I come.

Much love,

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