As a civil engineering student at the University of Alabama, I am intrigued by sustainability and design. I have a passion for knowledge, travel, growth, community, and service. Thus, I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to attend the Regeneration Field Institute’s Disaster Relief and Sustainable Architecture program in Guayaquil, Ecuador. During this program, I will be staying on a farm focused on using readily available resources such as bamboo to assist in the development of a sustainable infrastructure in rural Ecuador.

As my departure date approaches, I am flooded with a variety of emotions. I feel eager, excited, anxious, fearful, thrilled, energized, and exhausted all at once! I have never been outside of the country so while I know this will be a wonderful experience, I also expect to encounter some obstacles. As a result, I have been packing and planning for almost a month now (see the picture of my suitcase featuring my pet rabbit). I’ve made sure to include plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, and hydration tablets since I will be working on a farm along the equator. I also anticipate some difficulty with the language barrier. I took Spanish in high school, but I have forgotten so much. For the past couple of months, I have been using apps such as Duolingo and Mango Languages in an attempt to refresh my memory. I am absolutely ecstatic about the chance to practice and improve my Spanish despite my concerns!

My expectations and goals for the trip are to learn as much as I can. There will be ample opportunity to gain knowledge in sustainable engineering, disaster relief, socioeconomic aid, cultural diversity, and global leadership throughout the course. I hope to take advantage of every opportunity that the program has to offer. Accordingly, I have set a couple of intentions for the duration of the trip. My first intention is to give myself grace. Some of these experiences will be out of my comfort zone. At times I may be uncomfortable or anxious, so I set this intention to remind myself that there will also be moments of wondrous joy. Another intention is to have a positive, receptive attitude in which I can enjoy the beauty of learning in a harmonious and peaceful space.

I can’t wait to get on this plane and have this experience in which I can learn, grow, and serve.