Week 9


  1. Explore your host country
    1. This can mean weekend trips to new places or just saying yes when someone asks for help with an event somewhere new
  2. Learn about the history of your host country
    1. Do this before you go and try and continue to do it while you’re there
    2. You might be surprised at what you learn, and it might even help you understand some of the quirks that exist in the country
  3. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help
    1. Now this is just polite to do when you visit someone’s house but try and do it often at your school or place of work. There might be a need that you can meet that you don’t notice.
  4. Be open to being uncomfortable
    1. When you’re in a new place and trying new things, it can be easy to shy away from being uncomfortable, but sometimes try and lean into it. You never know what you might learn.
    2. For me, this was a random night where my landlord came out to collect rent money and him and his buddy ended up telling me all about their military service in Ethiopia and Cold War Berlin, complete with pictures. I was totally out of my element at first, but it ended up being one of my favorite nights of my service.
  5. …but also know how to comfort yourself
    1. Sometimes I just have to make mac and cheese and watch a movie that reminds me of home
    2. Or call my sisters and just talk about whatever trash reality show we’re both watching
    3. It’s an aspect of self-care
  6. Learn how to pack light
    1. I walk so much more here than I did at home, which is great, but over two years I’ve also learned how to pack much lighter since I have to carry my bags all over this country
  7. Always have a bag with you
    1. They charge for bags here at the grocery story and whatnot, so toss an extra canvas one in your bag and you don’t have to worry about it
  8. When you’re working on a project, a grant, a seminar, whatever ESPECIALLY if there’s money involved: KEEP EVERYTHING
    1. Keep every note, receipt, email…whatever. Just keep it.
    2. Keep it organized…but keep it.
  9. Learn some filler words in language
    1. I mean like the equivalents to “goodness” or “darn”
    2. The people you interact with will find it charming and endearing
  10. Always bring a toothbrush
    1. You never know when you’re going to get stuck somewhere or have a particularly garlicy meal.

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