Ladies and Gentlemen please buckle your seat belts.......

Authored by:
Jenika S.

Jenika S.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Two years? One week? How about tomorrow? I never really could have answered that question without crossed fingers hoping that it would actually be for real, that it would actually be for me. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that tomorrow I "Jenika Scott of sound mind" would be in a whole new country, learning a whole new language and gaining a whole new experience. 

I do remember the night answering the broadcast email for CIEE's  study abroad opportunity.  I was at home browsing the web as it was a very bland night, when I decided to apply. Conversley, I love going abroad and experiencing new things, but coming from a poor background you've been molded not to dream or not to dream too big. After all, how was I ever going to pay for such a trip!!! There...I did it... I submitted my application. Only God knows what's next! 

What was next, was a SCHOLARSHIP paying 75% of my tuition, and an additional travel grant.. OMG!! Did I apply when all the stars were in a straight line or in the shape of Brazil? Do I have a fairy Godmother who's heard my wish to attend the ball? Am I that favored by GOD? I didn't know what it was but I was thankful for this glimpse of hope.

I then began the process of getting my medical done, applying for a passport and my visa (this was such a tedious process). However, the most excited part for me, being the nerd that I am, was applying for classes. CIEE Open Campus Study Abroad Program has a myriad variety of courses to choose from, and the best part is that you don't have to stick to a particular discipline, you can create your own!! I have always wanted and I do plan to study Sustainable Development, but being in the country that is working towards a sustainable world, is simply amaze balls!!

Then it happened, the wait!  Come on, you didn't think this Rome was built in a day? I was still continuing with my fall semester classes at Essex County College. My professors were so happy that I was pursuing this opportunity, and proudly announced every time in class that I was going away to study abroad. This is a big deal not just for me but for my school as well, as it is their first time implementing this program into the mainstream of our school's curricular and culture. Then it occurred to me, that I was going to be the first student to represent my college abroad and everyone would be expecting me to succeed. Instantly, I was having hot flashes of what if's, what if I don't go? Would everyone be mad at me? What if I do go only to fail? or What if I am challenged by a lot of Einsteins ? Is this really my place? 

My professors and even study abroad advisers assured me that this was too great of an opportunity to pass up and that I would be just fine. Days counting down to my departure I hardly slept because I was so excited. Come on people, I am  going to Brazil!! I probably packed, unpacked and repacked my suitcase over a dozen times. My family and friends were so supportive of me and all saying that they would miss me and I knew it had to be true because I would miss them too (I would never tell them this though..lol).

Sitting on the plane, looking through the window gazing at the men below running around like ants, making sure that everything was prepped and ready to go. I can't help but to feel overall grateful to my Mom and my Professor (Dr. Akil Khalfani) who worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality and of course to God for making it so. If I do need to make anyone proud it would be these three right there. I remember something my professor told me " When someone helps you up, don't forget to pull two more persons behind you." I am doing this for you too Essex County College!!

Now it's time for me to explore! I knew it when I heard "Ladies and Gentlemen please buckle your seat belts.... Boa Viagem!"

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