It is difficult to describe my abroad experience without describing the extraordinary natural world which surrounded it.
I wake alongside the sunrise for my early morning run, a familiar practice I am committed to bringing from New York to Kenya. As I make my way to the loop around the research centre, I interact with a flock of irritable guinea fowl, a pair of frozen dik diks, and a bright eyed baby hornbill. The most foreign moment, however, comes moments after I really start to run. I am looking at the ground, watching for holes, when I come across a print I have not seen except in films. A leopard in the early morning hours had made his way across the trail. I pause for a moment to take this in, and then I continue on towards the sun.
It is difficult to describe my abroad experience without describing the extraordinary natural world which surrounded it. My experience was defined, not necessarily by food, language, or travel. It was instead defined by the otherworldly moments I shared alongside my new community- watching an elephant herd with their new baby, a mere six hours old, walking through the morning fog, sitting for hours amongst the last remaining herd of Bongos as they slowly acclimated to our foreign presence, watching the moon set and the sun rise in the empty other world of the Lothagam desert, where we had gone to find fossils millions of years old. Through UGE, I was able to have experiences I could have never had and I likely will never have again. This to me is the essence of study abroad- the opportunity to live as you never have imagined could be possible before and only now can envision might be possible again.
For more on my abroad day to day- check out the blog I wrote!