Kisha Patel is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A political science and gender/women's studies major at Ursinus College, she is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
In her first post as a CAPA blogger, Kisha shares her pre-departure thoughts from the plane as she stops over in California with her family before heading on to Australia.
I have been full of dreams, thoughts, expectations, fears, and every other emotion possible as I think about my semester ahead and I thought there was no better time to write out my thoughts than at the very beginning of my journey, so I am writing this post from 10,000 feet above ground on my flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles!
I didn’t think I would be as nervous as I am, but I am filled with this nervous excited energy that I cannot shake because I still can’t believe this is actually happening! I have been talking about studying abroad in Sydney for a year and this is it, I am actually on my way!!
I decided to study abroad because I thought it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow and learn in an environment that is not as comfortable and safe feeling as Ursinus College is. They say that college years are supposed to be “the best years of your life”. I can't help but feel like these “best years” are flying by faster than this plane I am on is. Between the blur of a packed schedule of classes, clubs, extra curriculars, internships, and jobs, my freshman year turned into my sophomore and now I am facing myself with only three semesters to go. Don’t get me wrong - I love my experiences at Ursinus - but being at Ursinus has become a very comfortable and precise monotonous routine.
I approached my junior year craving a challenge and full of wanderlust, and this lead me to my decision to study abroad. I am so excited to travel abroad and learn all about Australia, but I would be lying if I did not admit it is definitely a little scary. Ursinus College is a VERY small college in Pennsylvania and it has a very comfortable, homey feeling and a very tight-knit college community. I know the majority of the student body and am thoroughly involved in various aspects of the school so going abroad to a new school in a huge city without my safety net is a little bit overwhelming and terrifying. So I take this challenge and leap from Ursinus remembering the quote, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not why ships are built."
When I began researching where I wanted to go abroad, I first realized that CAPA was definitely the program I wanted to be going with. I liked how friendly the CAPA staff was about all my questions; I liked that they offered internships; and I liked the variety in course selections. I was torn between what CAPA program I wanted to do and found myself looking more and more at Sydney. I loved that Sydney was such a diverse city with a mix of cultures that created its own special environment. I figured if I was going to take this leap, I might as well jump and go across the world to somewhere I have never been and I am certain I made the right choice. Luckily, I had the support and advice of Ursinus’s Study Abroad Office (Thank you Melissa Hardin & Paula Alvarez!) who helped me figure out what I wanted from my study abroad experience.
The biggest thing I am excited about is my internship placement. I am Pre-Law at Ursinus and while I have interned and shadowed at a few small firms, I have really wanted to work for a big all-practice firm. CAPA set up with a great placement at Holman Webb Lawyers. (Confession: I have visited every tab on their website at least eight times because I am so excited). I cannot wait to start interning there! I really am still unsure about what aspect of law I want to pursue and I hope meeting some lawyers in various fields and working with them will help shed some light on what I want my career path to be. Back at Ursinus I am captain of the Ursinus Mock Trial team and the hardest thing to leave this semester was knowing that I would be missing our competition season, but I think this internship will give me the legal buzz that I will miss from Mock Trial, while still cheering my team on from 10,000 miles away! Go UCMT!
While I have all these exciting opportunities awaiting me in Sydney, the challenge of all of my plans is packing for them. The hardest part of this experience so far has definitely been the packing. It took me two weeks to finally get myself packed and I was still second-guessing myself and going through everything the night before I left. Packing business for my internship, casual for school, dressier for going out in the city, and athletic gear for excursions plus shoes all in two bags was quite the challenge because those who know me know how much I love clothes. But I did manage to get it all in with 12 pounds to spare…even though I did have to sit on a suitcase to zip it.
Now my family and I are off to spend a week in Los Angeles before I fly out to Sydney, so I’m thinking seeing Mickey and Minnie at DisneyLand can help calm some of this nervous energy.
Lastly, before I embark on this journey, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all my family and friends who have supported me through my study abroad decision. Particularly, I would like to thank the best mentor/advisor I could ever ask for at Ursinus, Rebecca Evans, who has worked through every single thing I need academically with me and who has given me countless confidence boosting pep talks about this new adventure. I also want to thank my mom and dad who are making this experience possible!
Today starts a brand new adventure.
Kisha's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.