I have always wanted to study abroad since I was a kid, but I never imagined I would have the opportunity until I saw the Freshman Access Grant Panama Business Trip. Coming into college, I was prepared to take on any opportunity to broaden my viewpoint and obtain a worldwide perspective on my field of study. Before selecting to study abroad, I had to evaluate several factors. Was I able to afford it? Does it fit with my academic interests?

Before traveling to Panama, I had to prepare by obtaining a passport and packing essentials such as clothing for the hot Panamanian heat. I am also preparing by researching Panama and learning about its culture, language, and customs to help me cope with culture shock. I am also reaching out to previous study abroad students who completed this program for advice. As of today, on departure day, I am quite thrilled about the experience that awaits me. However, I can not shake the feeling of nervousness and uncertainty. Thoughts of leaving my family and friends behind temporarily dampens my excitement. Though, Right now I am focusing on staying positive and reminding myself of the personal growth and incredible opportunity that awaits me.

My hopes for this trip are to improve my soft skills such as cultural awareness and interpersonal skills by interacting with locals. I am excited to explore the many businesses and historical places. Furthermore, I hope to gain independence and resilience by navigating unknown environments and challenges. Overall, I see my time overseas as a transforming journey full of personal development and wonderful moments.