As I sit in the airport awaiting a connecting flight to Seoul, South Korea (where I will then fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia), I figured there is no better time to reflect on the pre-departure phase of my study abroad program. Thinking back, I’m not even sure I believed this day would come, given the general obstacles to international travel during a global pandemic; however, the potential value of studying abroad has outweighed the added time and effort of preparation required to travel during these hectic times.
What drove me to want to study abroad? To be honest, it was a confluence of factors – my last summer of being an undergraduate (and consequently my last chance to utilize an element of my scholarship), the ability to obtain credit for an international business course required by my MBA curriculum, and the general mystique of Cambodia. Upon conversing with the professor leading the two week program, I learned that trips to Asia often struggle to get the requisite number of students committed. If I had been on the fence previously, I certainly wasn’t after hearing that; studying abroad in Cambodia, an opportunity to experience something so unique culturally yet still so enriching academically, was not something I wanted to pass on.
Preparing for this program, particularly travel, has required communication and diligent planning. In order to gain entry into Cambodia, we must have our passport, visa, proof of vaccination, hotel confirmation, and proof of insurance. Specific items I packed for the trip were outlet adapters (extremely important) and pants in order to enter temples. As someone who has the tendency to “double check” ten times over, my mental and emotional preparation has consisted of simply reminding myself to enjoy the process and not stress, as it can be so easy to do during times like these. As for the expectations and goals of my study abroad, my aim is solely to enter the program with an open mind in order to reap as many benefits as I can from the experience. This is incredibly different than anything I’ve ever done before, and I’m excited to take on the adventure that awaits during my two weeks in Cambodia.