By: Porsche Campbell, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship
Study Abroad Destination: Kochi, India
With just over a week until I depart to study abroad, a mix of emotions are flowing through my body. I consider myself an experienced traveller, yet I feel so unsure, a little nervous and excited all at the same time. While there have been lots of ups and downs with preparing, organizing flights, obtaining vaccinations, assessing money issues and applying for visas before embarking on my studies abroad, things have finally begun to settle and I am now able to focus on this last week.
My program has changed from one location to another, as I will now be studying in Kochi, India as a result of legal circumstances and the recent bombings that have taken place in Sir Lanka’s capital Colombo. While this has added much uncertainty and stress to my travels that were previously organized, my safety and ability to comfortably study abroad is of utmost importance. In order to overcome the unforeseen challenges, I have worked closely with the volunteer organization I will be studying abroad with to redirect flights, ensure safe arrival and apply for a new travel visa.
Much of the preparation I’ve done prior to my trip has been self-directed by jotting down flights, dates and prices on a one month calendar. Moreover, ensuring up to date vaccinations and preventative medication such as Dukoral are taken prior to departure is critical to for safe uninterrupted studies. My advice to any student wishing to travel abroad is to prepare yourself as much as you can prior to leaving and also prepare mentally for the changes and cultural differences many underdeveloped countries will expose you to. Having previously travelled to India for personal reasons, I find myself prepared, however, this trip I will be volunteering in a maternity setting and will see my field of choice in a completely new perspective.
Lastly, I have taken time to research the area I will be visiting and understand the community I will be placed in. The region of Kerela is known for its tea plantations and vast canals that represent the regions incredible beauty, which I cannot wait to see during some of my spare time abroad.