Preparations

I’m about one week away from my flight to Cochabamba, Bolivia, which means that it’s time to start my obligatory study abroad blog: Temporary Cochabambina. I’m participating in a very unique program, so I’m going to explain that really quick:

The program is organized by SIT (School for International Training). You can find more about them and the specifics of my program here: http://studyabroad.sit.edu/sn/programs/semester/spring-2016/blr/

What that means: I’m not just enrolling in a university in Bolivia and exploring the continent on my own. (Take the easy way out? As if!) I’m going to be engaged in seminar-based classes for approximately three months with 15 American students. We’ll each live with a family and go for a few week-long excursions together around the country. Our seminars will focus on the Spanish language, research techniques, and our program theme: Globalization, Multiculturalism, and Social Change. The final three weeks of the program, each of us will complete an independent research project in a city or region of our choosing. So, it’s structured fun.

Oh, and then I’ll spend a week in Chile just for kicks, getting back to Minnesota in time to watch the premiere of Episode VII of Star Wars.

To answer the most popular questions:

Bolivia is the least developed country in South America, so I can’t drink the water and it’ll be a definite lifestyle change, but that’s part of why I want to go. I like to challenge myself and live new experiences.

The flight, including a 5-hour layover in Miami, amongst others, is about 24 hours.

Bolivia’s time zone aligns with the United States’ Eastern time zone, so I don’t need to worry about jetlag.

I’m not bringing my cell phone or laptop, but I will get a local phone when I’m there and will have a tablet for the limited wifi I may find, so anybody can contact me on Facebook, Viber, Skype, or just stay tuned to this blog!

I haven’t seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

I had to get vaccines for Yellow Fever, Hep A, Typhoid, Rabies, plus tests for HIV and Tuberculosis to enter the country. I will also take Malaria medication while I’m there.

The only foreign country I’ve visited is Canada.

As you can see, I’m in for a wild ride, but I’m not too nervous. I’ll figure it out. The next week, I’m packing and arranging everything for the trip, so my next post might be from Cochabamba. Maybe Miami. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

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