Community Health Education major
Exploring Health and Healthcare Systems in South Africa
Summer I short-term faculty-led program
My name is Miranda McDowell, and I am studying abroad in South Africa for 3 weeks with 11 other students and our professor! While we are there we will be learning about South Africa’s healthcare and healthcare system, along with getting the chance to see some African wildlife like the “Big 5” animals!
South Africa has ALWAYS been on my list of places to visit in my lifetime, and when I found out I had the chance to study abroad there, I couldn’t have been more thrilled! I quickly began to research everything I would need to do in order to go, which included getting my mom’s approval and making sure I would be back in time for my brother’s high school graduation.
My mom was very against the idea of me going at first because she didn’t want me to be that far away with people I didn’t know and didn’t want to risk the chance of something happening to me. With the help of Dr. Bensley (the instructor leading my trip) I was able to ease her mind with more details about the trip, and was able to assure her that I would be back in time for Jake’s graduation, the day of to be exact!
My biggest fear about this trip is that I will get hurt or get sick there and not be able to get the full experience. I would be so sad if that happened! I know I am going to miss my mom and my brother more than anything while I am gone. My hometown is only about 30 minutes away from WMU so I am used to seeing them at least once every 2 weeks, if not every weekend! I am most excited to be able to see a wild African elephant in South Africa! Elephants have always been my favorite animal; they are strong, intelligent, wise, and beautiful animals. I just might cry from excitement if I got to see a baby elephant or got the chance to get close to one in the wild!
Now that my trip begins TOMORROW, my mom and the rest of my family and friends are very excited for me to go! I am so happy they are finally feeling this way. My god father has still tried a couple of times to talk me out of it, but he soon realized it was no use because I was dead-set on going! Everyone has been telling me to be SAFE, take TONS of pictures, and to have FUN! My friends have told me they are “living vicariously through me” on this trip because many of them have also dreamed of going to Africa. Personally, I think 3 weeks is the perfect amount of time to be away on a study abroad trip. I am a home-body, but also have the NEED to see this gigantic world!
I am SO READY for this adventure…..South Africa….HERE I COME!