Major: Woodrow Wilson
Residential College: Butler
OIP Program: Novogratz Bridge Year Program
Location (city, country): Dakar, Senegal
Describe a memorable experience abroad:
After the program ended, my American family came and stayed with my Senegalese family for several days before we traveled the country. My homestay family spoke Wolof at home and some of them could speak French as well. My American younger sister was taking French in high school and my American Dad spoke a little bit as well. This meant that my two families could communicate a little bit, but weren't really able to communicate without me there as an interpreter. Specifically, my Mom and my Yaaye (Wolof for mom) could not understand each other at all really. Despite that, when they first met, they shook hands and started crying. My Mom thanked my Yaaye for taking care of me for the year and my Yaaye thanked my Mom for coming to visit their home and meet her family. This is my favorite memory of Senegal because it captures the importance of my two families to my experience while there.
What would you say to someone considering an international experience?
Be prepared. Not just for the physical stuff that you will have to be ready for (don't forget a mosquito net!) or for the challenging stuff that you're bound to face. You have to be prepared to make new friends and to have new experiences. Most of all, you have to be prepared to miss wherever you're going like you miss home. No one really told me that preparation is necessary for the good parts, too.