By the time you read this I will be en-route to Vietnam! By sheer crazy coincidence, my departure falls on the 3-year anniversary of the day I left for Pac Rim, and the beginning of this blog. Another strange coincidence, I will be flying through Seoul, which is where Pac Rim started. It’s crazy to think about how much has changed since then, so I wanted to take a minute to reflect on exactly how far I’ve come, and how far I’m going!
Pac Rim, the 9-month study-travel program I chose to do for my junior year of college, was an amazing experience. A lot of what I’m doing now reminds me of my year abroad, but this time around there are some major differences. For starters, today I will not have the pleasure of traveling with 24 other students and 4 staff (plus visiting professors). Pac Rim let me travel with some of my best friends, which was great, but also sometimes a bit much. Now I’m on my own. I don’t even have the benefit of an NGO to train or organize my life, which is a little terrifying, but also kind of cool. I like the independence of it, and I’m excited to strike out on my own in such a huge way.
Three years ago I was a student, and while classes were not always easy, life was full of free time and fun. Now I’m the teacher, with all sorts of responsibilities and limited vacation time. This will certainly be an interesting work experience.
I’m also staying in one country, one city for the full year, while PacRim averaged one country per month. This means that I will be able to really get to know Can Tho, and maybe even learn to speak a decent amount of Vietnamese. Fingers crossed on that last one – this language seems tough!
I think those are the major differences, the ones that come to mind quickly. But from here on out, I feel like I need to stop comparing this year to Pac Rim – this is a new adventure. Yes, I will benefit from my past experiences, but I am ready and willing to discover Vietnam and Can Tho through fresh eyes. Bring it on!