Caleb Kostreva is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A public policy and civic leadership; social science (global studies emphasis) major at Howard Payne University, he is studying abroad in Shanghai this term.
In this week's post, Caleb Kostreva talks about how he feels before leaving for Shanghai, and how he prepared for his new adventure.
“Adventure is out there!” crossed the lips of so many of the cast in Pixar’s “UP” (2009). Yes, it is; but there are so many things that try and dissuade us from experiencing it! How will I finance it? How will my classes fit in with my degree plan? Can I still graduate on time? What will my family think about me going across the globe by myself for three and a half months? These were just a few of the many questions I asked myself and others as I considered making the leap to study abroad.
When I entered college last fall, I knew that I wanted to at least explore the option of studying abroad, but I did not really think that it would become a reality. However, in January, my advisor told me about CAPA and said I should at least apply for the program. I took Mandarin in high school so I decided to apply for the Shanghai program. When I received the acceptance email, I knew that I would be in China this fall, regardless of what I needed to do to get there.
So, how did I finance this? First, I want to give a shout out to CAPA for being reasonably priced. Many study abroad programs are quite expensive, and I am paying about the same as at my home institution, which is incredible. As the financier of my own education, I have worked diligently to apply for scholarship after scholarship, and have worked rigorously in two jobs over the summer to help me get to Shanghai. This summer, I worked at a peach orchard, and as an independent contractor, painting. The long days were worth every minute!
I was not too worried about my family’s reaction, since they are all very open to new experiences, but I still had a hint of anxiety when I told them I was going to apply for the program. I should have had no doubts… my parents asked a million questions, but were entirely supportive of my decision. Whether it be backpacking, going to school out of state, or even spending a semester on the other side of the globe, I am so grateful for the spirit of adventure and fearlessness that they have instilled in me!
Before I even started putting things in my suitcase, I set aside everything that I needed to put pack (minus a few of the last-minute things like toiletries). I needed to see everything I was packing for the semester, and needed to cram into my one suitcase before I got too far into it. I must say, Pinterest was super helpful when it came to creative ways to fold clothes and helpful hints on how to place things strategically in the suitcase. To cut down on the things that I needed to pack, I made a list of things that I can purchase inexpensively when I arrive. This is the [almost] finished product:
So long America, and I’ll see you soon, Shanghai!
Caleb's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.