So here I am, in the middle of my sophomore year in my 40’s, a full-time student running my own company, married with three kids, and running a small goat farm, planning a trip to Ghana! Amidst this beautiful chaos, I am preparing for this opportunity with excitement and nerves!

First things first, why did I choose to study abroad? Well, it was all about seizing that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse myself in another culture. I wanted to expand my horizons, challenge my perspectives, and gain insights I could apply as a social worker. I have never been one to believe that our US systems are always batting 1000. Plus, let’s be honest, experiencing how things are done differently – whether better or worse – was incredibly exciting. 

Deciding to embark on a journey to Africa wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment choice for me. As a spouse and parent, I needed to carefully weigh the impact on my family’s emotional and financial well-being. The strain on our budget, the logistics of leaving my husband to manage our household with farm animals, children immersed in sports, and my business all added complexity. The thought of juggling these responsibilities while anticipating being away for a month is daunting. It requires a delicate balance between the excitement of the adventure and the reality of the sacrifices involved. The budget was a significant factor in this decision. Studying abroad comes with a hefty price tag, and the financial strain on my family demanded careful consideration. Not only did I have to budget for tuition and living expenses, but I also had to factor in the lost income from taking time off work.

Ultimately, the decision was made after careful consideration and many heart-to-heart conversations with my husband. It wasn’t just about me—it was about embracing the unknown together as a family, supporting each other through this journey of growth and discovery. As a military family, we are very familiar with support and sacrifice, as those are the tenets of our family. Support and faith have sustained our family for the past 17 years, and this experience is no different.

So here I am, less than 30 days from leaving on this incredible voyage, nerves tingling with anticipation and a heart brimming with gratitude for the opportunity to embark on this unforgettable adventure. Cheers to stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing the extraordinary—no matter where life takes us!

So, to all my fellow non-traditional students dreaming of studying abroad, go for it! Embrace the chaos, overcome the obstacles, and seize the opportunity to make unforgettable memories. Trust me; it’ll be worth it.