What I wish I knew before coming

Programs for this blog post

Summer Community Public Health

Authored By:

CIEE Gaborone

Written by Kat Laird.

My name is Katherine Laird and I was part of the Summer 2023 in the Community Public Health Program. Below is what I wish I knew before coming to study abroad in Botswana:

  1. Create time for yourself while on the trip. Whether you you decide to journal, go to the UB gym, read, or something else, make sure you schedule in time to rest and recharge. Your experiences and memories will be much sweeter this way.
  2. Keep a list of all the funniest memories from the trip! One of the girls on our trip did this, and reminiscing on all the best moments on the last couple nights was definitely one of my favorite memories from the whole experience.
  3. Make your best effort to be involved in the student group! When in such a new environment, the other American students become an amazing support system. Its amazing how closely you are bonded after experiencing such a life-changing summer together.
  4. Pack intentionally. Mostly everyone on my trip agrees that we overpacked. For example, don't spend a lot of space on what Americans would think of as business professional clothing. To clinics and site visits we just wore any nice, non-jean pants. I typically just went for a black cotton jumpsuit with a white long sleeve underneath. Tennis shoes like converse were acceptable too.
  5. We were told on the first day of orientation to "dive in the deep end". Looking back, this is a piece of advice I constantly went back to. Its inevitable to be pushed far, far outside of your comfort zone. But, a mindset of growth and education can totally transform any situation into a positive one.