Every semester as a study abroad advisor, I spent at least 40 hours per week helping students make a transition from the United States to various overseas locations. (I also did a fair amount of helping the parents let goooooo....this for another time.) My job was to provide comprehensive training and support to people who may or may not have ever set foot outside of the State of New York, let alone the United States. After more than two and a half years, I decided it was time to put my own training to the test again.
I left New York and fly to Colombia in just a few days. I do not know what awaits me in South America or beyond. One might think this sort of process is 'old
hat' for a reasonably well-traveled person and study abroad advisor. It
is not. Even though I recognize the progression of events and cycles-- I
am on the threshold of something new.
The reality of picking up life from one place and moving it to
another is so intense that I have to continually split myself into the
role of advisor and student/self and then attempt to follow my own advice!
For example, my body and mind create expectations,
prejudices, fears and 'planning anxiety' (that panicky
frequently reminds you that your geographic location, job status, social
situation, and ability to purchase health insurance will be in question
within the next 6 months). The advisor then has to correctly identify the source of those fears and expectations and suggest facts and strategies to help work through them.
Savvy planning is not the key to a transformational experience. Rather, I have learned that my main task is to be open and to wake up
every day and remain that way.
Voy a Colombia.