Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Beginning

Here it is, folks, the blog that will hopefully chronicle my great adventure into the wild unknown. So there's not much to say yet, except that my excitement level and my trepidation level are both way up there. But, as nervous/excited as I've been through the whole process of applying and getting to this point, I should be used to that by now :)

 For those of you who don't know, I'll give you some background info on exactly what I'm doing. I'll be participating in a semester long study abroad program (Nope, it's not a missions trip) through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Specifically, I'm participating in the Uganda Studies Program. I'll be spending the next four months in Mukono, Uganda, a city on the coast of Lake Victoria (the Jeopardy song plays here as you google where exactly that is :). I will be taking a few classes at Uganda Christian University along with other international and Ugandan students and living in a dorm there. In addition to my traditional classes, I'll be doing my junior year social work internship.  This is a major part of junior year as a social work major and counts for 6 credit hours. I would be doing this if I were taking a traditional semester in the states, interning in a social service agency, but doing it in Africa will certainly give my internship a distinct flavor! There are several NGOs (non-government organizations) that accept social work interns and that I can choose to intern with over the semester; I will get to tour and interview at each of these agencies when I arrive before deciding exactly where I will be interning. 

So you're probably wondering why on earth I would want to do this.Well, first off, I have been fascinated with other cultures for as long as I can remember and want to learn as much about them as I can. Second, what better way to get my focus off of myself than on living in the Third World?Most importantly, God started leading me to go last September when I first learned of the opportunity through some professors and other students. At first, back in the fall, I was gun-ho about going. Then as the deadline for application approached in February, I started to get apprehensive. I applied, telling the Lord that if I was accepted, I would take that as a sign that He wanted me to go. After being accepted, I was still apprehensive.  I started wondering if my doubts were attacks from the enemy, or if I had mistaken God's voice originally and He was giving me doubts to get me back to where I needed to be. My confirmation was needed in April, and I was more torn than I had ever been. After been told by literally EVERYONE to go, I put in my acceptance. I won't deny that I've been crazy nervous since then, but I truly believe this is where God wants me right now. God has recently opened me up to working in adoption, especially internationally or with children who have HIV/AIDS,working in a pregnancy resource, or even working in a missions/church social work setting. So, in light of that, I'm using this semester as a way to see if working with international orphans, either in a social work or missions setting, is something I could do long-term.

So here's where my adventure really starts. I fly out of Columbus 8/23, connect in Washington D.C. where I meet the rest of the group from the Uganda Studies Programme, connect again in Amsterdam, then land in Entebbe on 8/24. Our first few days will be spend in the capital training and debriefing, then we'll travel to Mukono.

Hopefully I will remember to post highlights of my African life and pictures, too! Feel free to ask me any questions.