StudyabroadOrientation          4daystillMexico          Packed

I am four days away from going on my first study abroad trip to Cuernavaca, Mexico! This will also be the first time I will travel out of the country.

Studying abroad has always been a dream of mine, but I never really tried due to finances. It was not until one of the professor at the School of Social Work sent out an email to recruit any interested students.  I applied just to see but when I was chosen to actually go, it was like my dreams were starting to come true.

As mentioned before, finances was a huge part in my reasons not to study abroad. I do have scholarships to attend the University of Alabama, but growing up in a single parent home, I did not want to ask my father for money. In October of 2012, my family lost my mother to unexpected accident. It was very devastating for my family and our financial situation. I came to college solely on scholarships. Attending the University of Alabama has always been a dream of mine and with hard work and faith, I was able to make that dream come true.

After given this opportunity to study abroad, I thought to myself about all I have accomplished to get to where I am, that is when I made it my goal to go on this trip. After looking into different resources, I was able to get an Education Abroad Scholarship, and use one of my other academic scholarships (The Annexstad Family Scholarship) to help fund my trip!

My main reason for going to this trip was that it was offered through my college, as well as it was a Spanish speaking country. My father is from San Bartolo, Guatemala. He came to this country when he was only seventeen years old. After many years of working, he was offered his residency and decided to stay in the United States. He eventually traveled from Los Angeles, California and ended up in Madison, Alabama. There he met my mother and stayed. Growing up in Florence, Alabama with my mother’s family has caused my siblings and I to grow up with little knowledge of my father’s culture. Going on this trip will give me a similar taste and I will also be taking Spanish classes while I’m there!

Physically, mentally, and emotionally I am so ready to go! The only struggle is packing. I do not want to pack too much or too less. Having  one check bag has really limit the things I am bringing. Luckily, the study abroad orientation and my instructor helped answer many questions I had about packing!

Though I know I will miss my husband, father and brother, I know I am sitting an example to my younger brother that with hard work and faith, we can not only attend our dream college, but also travel the world! Also I will see them all when I return.

I expect to make the most out of this trip. Not everyone can say that they have study abroad while in college. I also want to do well on my school work that goes along with the trip. I want to take in so much knowledge outside of the classrooms. I want to learn and experience the culture. I also want to improve in my Spanish.

Just writing this post has made me even more anxious! I can’t wait for all the great adventures this trip has in store for me! I’ll be sure to take many pictures and keep you updated!

-Genesis Perez McMullan