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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Abroad Round Two

CIEE+students+at+the+African+Renaissance+Monument+in+Dakar%2C+Senegal
CIEE students at the African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal

Adjusting to life abroad (again)

Hello from Senegal! I’ve begun my second semester of studying abroad and am ecstatic to spend the next four months living and studying in Dakar, Senegal. I spent last semester traveling to Chile, Nepal and Jordan learning about various human rights abuses and movements of resistance. After those four transformative months (an abroad cliché, I know), I was nothing but nerves in the days leading up to my second semester abroad. What if I don’t make friends in my group? What if I get terribly homesick? What if I made a huge mistake studying abroad back to back semesters? What if, what if, what if. And these anxieties didn’t dissipate once I arrived. In fact, I spent every night of my first week in Senegal crying, comparing everything to last semester and not being able to understand why it felt so different. 

During this time, I tried to give myself a little grace. Initially, every time I would get upset I would become so angry with myself. I had to constantly validate my emotions—quite a difficult practice—and remind myself that it’s more than OK to experience emotions. Rather than being frustrated, I tried to instead focus on creating new memories, independent of last semester. Little by little, I’ve grown to love my life here in Senegal. 

My host family is incredible, to say the least, and have been so kind and welcoming. I spend three days a week at my internship with a NGO fighting for rights of women and children. I’m learning so much about which approaches to protecting human rights are effective and where this protection falls short. I love learning new things about Senegalese culture every day, and I love building relationships with people here in Dakar.

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Despite the rocky start, I know this semester is going to be incredible. Returning to Wofford in the fall is definitely going to be an adjustment, and one that I’m quite glad is seven months in the future.

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