Well, maybe I should start off by introducing myself. I am Elora Dittmar and I am a junior Mathematics major at Wofford College. I am about to embark for an incredible 4 months to London and Jamaica for IES London & Oxford: Health Practice and Policy. I never thought I would be one to choose studying abroad, you know, actually leave the comforts of home, but I’m ready to prove myself wrong. As many of you know, I have had a life dream of becoming an Optometrist. When researching programs, I stumbled upon this gem of a program. What better way to introduce myself to the health field then studying public health for 4 months.
I will go ahead and set up the need to know details about my program. Everyone seems to get confused when I try to explain it, so best of luck. I will be taking 15 credit hours: one three hour elective, one three hour public health course, one 6 hour service/lecture course, and one three hour course at Oxford University, St. Catherine’s College. My service learning course has a 6 hour/week volunteer component in London and then a field study component in Kingston Jamaica from April 11 to April 20.
Now that the basis of my program is out of the way, you can begin to understand the dual feeling of excitement and pure terror. This journey will be a tremendous opportunity for my career and personal growth, but you can’t blame me for being skeptical and yes (the word I frequently use to describe my trip) terrifying. But this is natural, right? Visiting a country or even another continent is one thing, but surviving there is a whole new deal. What will the people be like? Will they try and take advantage of my vulnerability? Will they even acknowledge my existence? Will I run out of funds? Will I pack enough or too much (probably the later)? Will I make friends? Or will I be alone? Will I embarrass myself with my lack of cultural knowledge and social customs? And it is only 6 days away…
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