As I am preparing to embark on this trip to Port Au Prince Haiti, I cannot help but think about the life changing experience that is ahead. I have heard from others that have been on this particular trip that it impacted them more than it impacted the Hatians they were serving. This is very unique to hear because the UA students make a large impact while in Haiti. The study abroad is unique in that it is a week-long trip in December where business students meet local Haitains to teach them needed business skills while promoting entrepreneurship and economic development. For one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, the people greatly welcome and need guidance in how to build better businesses and build strong relationships with Americans.
I had been wanting to take a study abroad trip since listening to a study abroad presentation freshmen year. Now that Junior year has arrived and passing by, I figured time was of the essence to study abroad if I was going to do it. Being a business student that would actually like a job after graduation, summers are reserved for internships which diminishes most options for study abroad trips. Fall is football season, and as an Alabama native, no one leaves during football season. The only season left is Spring semester, and my adviser consistently sees fit to sign me up with extra classes in the Spring with the justification that I won’t graduate without doing that. This trip turned out to be the perfect solution, and helping others by sharing my passion for business was just a plus.
While at the Study Abroad Pre-departure meeting, I almost laughed at the presentation warning students about observing the host countries drinking laws, code of conduct and dress precautions. The meeting was very informational, and the education abroad office did a fantastic job about informing students how to prepare and what to expect. However, I laughed because the information did not necessarily pertain to my trip. We will be staying in a Christian compound in Haiti and more than likely will not leave the compound the whole week. As my teacher described the trip, no need to pack anything besides “Bama Casual” as there will be no discos to attend and an average high of 80 degrees. I was excited to hear that there will be plenty of drinking water and hot showers. Although, according to veterans, I would prefer cold showers due to the warm temperatures. Other than what to wear and what we will be teaching, I have little foresight of what to expect. I am going with an open mind and am very excited to experience another culture. Stay posted for updates about what the country side is like, how the people are, and if the food is better than Alabama winning another SEC Championship.