Uganda

When I came to college, I knew that I needed to break out of my comfort zone. I kept this goal in mind while I was searching for what to do during the summer after my sophomore year. Studying abroad had always sounded interesting to me, but I had found through a number of week-long trips that I define myself as a lover of travel. A full semester abroad did not sound appealing to me.

Drake has study abroad trips in the month of January and again in the month of May. The May trip is a three-week journey to Uganda. I had heard great experiences from the trip and was extremely interested. I spoke with a few friends who had previously gone and learned about all of the opportunities and activities.

Once I applied for the trip, I was nervous and anxious. I did not know anyone else going on the trip with me and I had only a few ideas of exactly what to expect. Before we left, we had five sessions where we met who we were traveling with, learned about the Ugandan culture and got all of the information we needed to be allowed into Uganda.

As the three weeks went on, we got closer as a group and met a group of Ugandan students from the business school in the capital of Uganda. We enjoyed traditional meals and got to see many parts of the country. From the maximum-security prison to the capital buildings to the safari lands, we got the inside look on the country. With each day came a new experience. As a group, we blogged about our daily trips.

Overall, this trip had helped me to see the world in a different light. While on the trip I did my best to focus on the present. During the long days, even if I felt like I was ready to get back to the hostel and go to bed, I knew I needed to enjoy the moment I was in. On those final days when I was itching to get home, I focused on staying present because I knew I would never be presented with this opportunity again. The trip gave me some great friends and wonderful memories.

What I learned

Everyone asks what my biggest takeaways were from the trip. I always recall one moment specifically as my one big takeaway. One night on the bus as we were driving back, I was looking onto the street at all of the poverty which surrounds the country. I was getting angry at the Ugandan students we were with for not doing anything about the raging poverty in their country. Then, I realized that, as Americans, we do the same thing. Homelessness and poverty are all around us, just not as visible as it is in Uganda, but we still stand by. What can we do to fix this issue?