I never would’ve thought I’d be so hesitant to go home to the states, or so ready to go back to Belize. Travel withdrawal is a real thing. Really though, I’ve found that even my busy days at home feel unproductive compared to how I was living abroad. I assume the feeling will fade with time, or maybe it’ll just push me to travel out of the country again. Not only do I miss the atmosphere, but I also miss the people, more than I ever thought I would. Part of one of the scholarships I received for study abroad, is a community outreach post-international study. Now that I’ve returned, I’m very excited about this aspect of the scholarship. My outreach project involves sharing my experience abroad with local high school students. I’ve certainly re-told plenty of stories to friends and family since returning but I’m more excited for this type of outreach. I wish that someone had pushed me to explore study abroad options sooner, so it’ll be interesting to do that for younger students. The trip gave me a perfect glance into what my career could hold in store. My end goal is to eventually end up with a position as a research professor. Seeing as I attended a faculty-led trip, it was a perfect opportunity to get a closer look at what someone in that position does. We also had multiple T.A.’s on the trip, which was interesting because I know that is a close stepping stone in my academic/career path. It’s difficult to understand how studying abroad can change you as a person, without doing international study yourself. I can definitely claim that my short time abroad changed a couple of my own views, concerning lifestyle. Living without the usual amenities and comforts has made me realize that I could be perfectly happy living as more of a minimalist. It was almost strange the night I got back to the states, I was starting to get accustomed to the Belizean environment. The bright lights and road signs and everything modern just seemed wrong in a way. I quickly re-adjusted but momentarily I just wanted the quiet, dark, and natural environment back. In fact, a part of me still does want that again. Despite my best efforts to pack light, I still over-packed. I wore basically the same three outfits the entire trip, so if I ever go again I’ll be packing even less. I’d advise all students doing a similar trip to pack three times less than what they think they need. Other than that, my advice ends with saying that studying abroad is possible for anyone, and everyone should do what they can to ensure that they get to experience it.

Sunrise (from a tree top)