When Will My Life Begin

Do you ever feel just a little bit like Rapunzel? Stuck in a tower with little to no idea of what life is like outside of it? Slightly unsure of where exactly you belong? Have really long hair that gets in the way most of the time but you’re just too afraid to cut it? Same.
For me that tower is Iowa City. Born and raised and now attending college in this town has a long list of perks. I could go on for days about what I love about IC, but the downfall for me is that I’ve never really been pushed outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never been completely on my own in a new place and I think it is something I need. This is why I have decided to study abroad this summer.
I will be spending 8 weeks in Santiago de los Caballeros, República Dominicana this summer studying community public health and Spanish. I chose this program because I am pursuing a degree in public health and want to not only make sure that I am on the right path, but also gain experience that I can’t get in a classroom in Iowa City. Choosing to spend 8 weeks abroad this summer was a difficult choice because (as many of you probably know) I work at the University of Iowa Wildlife camps. I can’t even begin to put into words how much I love working at a summer camp and how grateful I am for everything Wildlife camp has taught me. I learned a lot about patience and outdoor education. I gained leadership skills that I didn’t think I was even capable of. I also learned way too many useless animal facts. This being said, I think I got exactly what I needed from Wildlife Camp and it is time for me to jump outside of my comfort bubble this summer (except for the 2 weeks before I leave… I’ll be at camp then).
So I am taking the plunge. I am throwing myself out of my comfort zone because I know it will be good for me. First off, I am someone who doesn’t usually enjoy interacting with people I don’t know so I am hoping to become more outgoing throughout this experience. Secondly, I am not very confident in my Spanish speaking abilities (although I’ve studied the language since 7th grade), so being dropped in a Spanish speaking country will help me tremendously in my skills and confidence. Lastly, I mentioned before that sometimes I feel a little bit like Rapunzel. I find myself feeling like I’m living in this endless circle. Don’t get me wrong, I like the circle- it’s what I am used to, I’m happy in the circle, and life is generally good in the circle. But it’s still a circle of the same few things over and over (studying, sleeping, hanging out with friends/family). I need to break the circle and see what else is out there!
So basically I will be gone for 8 weeks learning, exploring La República Dominicana and doing a little bit of soul searching. I will post every now and then leading up to my departure and I’m hoping to post every few days (wifi permitting) while on my trip.
Hasta Luego!


One thought on “When Will My Life Begin

  1. Deb Roberts says:

    I am so dang happy and proud of you Autumn! I wish I could go with you. I so wish I would have had that opportunity at your age as I am also somewhat uncomfortable with those I don’t know well (believe it or not) and it would have been just what I needed to get out of my shell. I know you will never ever regret your decision. What a fabulous experience. Embrace it, enjoy it, and can’t wait to read about your journey.

    Liked by 2 people

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