Post #1: or How I learned to stop worrying and get on the plane

Welcome everyone!

For my first post, I would like to give a brief introduction of myself, my research project, and some pre-departure thoughts.  Hopefully I will be able to establish a basic format of the blog for future posts.  I am also going to be writing a column about my time abroad for Wofford’s newspaper, the Old Gold & Black (shameless plug, read it!) and hope to complement my articles with more personal posts here.

Anyways, here goes:  My name is David Moore and I am a senior from Spartanburg, South Carolina at Wofford College.  I am studying Chemistry, Mathematics, and German, and have been very fortunate to be chosen as Wofford College’s Presidential Scholar.  Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, I have the opportunity to travel for a semester + interim while completing an independent study project.

I intend to study renewable energy development in South America.  I will begin by interning with Duke Energy International in São Paulo in order to better understand the challenges businesses face in the hydropower industry.  I hope to spend time interacting with research institutions and universities, businesses, and government agencies in order to better understand the challenges of renewable energy development as they correlate to a country’s geographic assets, socioeconomic status, and political aspirations.  It’s a pretty daunting task, but I feel that there is much that can be learned from South America’s varying landscape and differing cultures.  My time will be split up as follows (allowing for some flexibility of travel within each country):

São Paulo, Brazil: August 22nd – October 30
Buenos Aires, Argentina: October 30 – November 27
Santiago, Chile: November 27 – January 2
Quito, Ecuador: January 2 – January 22

I’m hoping to post some photos of the family and friends that I will dearly miss while abroad, as well as some other local specialties near and dear to my heart (*ahem* Thai Taste, Fuji, Cookout, Burwell Breakfast), however my computer is currently being repaired so hopefully some magic happens tomorrow!

Please check up every once and awhile, and I will try and have a new post about once a week.  Thanks for reading!


P.S. At the end of each post, I’d like to give a departing travel tip.

Travel Tip #47: Visa services like Travisa can be excellent for helping you obtain the correct visa when visiting a country, but beware that sometimes it’s not worth paying the extra fee.  In my case with Brazil, using a visa service would have added a (potential) fifteen extra business days for visa processing!  I ended up sending the documents directly to the Brazilian consulate in Atlanta, saved about $150, and had my visa within five business days–awww yea.