When I first heard about the Benin trip, and how it had a one-week France component, I was a little bummed. I had already been to france, I already had that stamp. But I think a lot changed when I was in Cuba. As the trip got closer, I thought of paris as a comfort, as a home in so many ways. As a breath of fresh air, the way a weekend at my parents’ house can be.
Now, when I think of bangladesh, I don’t think oh! Now I can say I’ve been to asia. I don’t think about all the great proximate countries and how to cram them in as cheap as possible. I think about how hard it will be to experience my first truly blind foreign language experience. I think about how ill probably be alone, and what will I do for housing. I think about how they treat women, and wonder whether harassment is prevalent.
When I think about the Dominican Republic, I think of the comforts of Spanish and familiar food. I think of the proximity to Cuba and Haiti. I think about how going there three times in a six month period will be such an asset. Of course, I also hope there will be enough food, and that I wont get sick of spending so much time there.
I think a lot, too, about the choices I don’t make. Latin america isn’t supposed to be my focus area. Shouldn’t I be in Africa or the Middle East? Shouldn’t, as a friend suggested, I be running back to Cairo?
This is where it gets dicey and where I get all Bell Jar. Each place I choose is a million I don’t. And of course, money is always a factor, and my career, and the strength of what I intend to do in this new place.
How do you pick where you live, go on vacation or work? For me, a co-op abroad will be all of those things, in its own way.