Seven days from now, I’ll be landing in Lima to start my fabulous semester at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP)!! Am I excited? Of course! Am I terrified? Obviamente. But hey, that’s why I’m going to have a fantastic time.
For the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of research about Peru: checking out guide books, talking to people who’ve been there…generally abusing the #peru tag on Tumblr. And while I can say that I’ve prepared, I’m totally confident that my arrival at Jorge Chávez will be accompanied by an overwhelming excitement (and nervousness) that will temporarily negate any and all research I’ve done. That’s okay, because I am excited and I am nervous. I’ve been ‘international’ before, I’ve been a student forever before, but this is the first time I get to do both…shouldn’t I be nervous? I’m going into this as prepared as I can be, but I’d be foolish if I thought I knew what to expect.
That isn’t to say I don’t have expectations for this semester: I plan to improve my Spanish; I anticipate seeing some of the most wondrous, mysterious ruins in the world. Most important, I expect to return to the US a transformed person. We read a lot about study abroad, and folks generally take an all-or-nothing approach: either it’s a transformative experience, or it’s not. But here’s the thing: transformation isn’t something that one can avoid. Every new person met, food tasted or epic adventure hiking trip taken transforms us, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. After four months of meeting, tasting and adventuring, I can’t wait to see what my transformation will be.