Hello everyone! My name is Laura Conwell, a rising sophomore studying International Studies and Spanish. In the past few years, I have become extremely interested (read: obsessed) with learning about other cultures; it’s why I chose my major. I’ve spent a fair amount of time traveling around Europe, but this will be my first time traveling to Latin America. Over the years, I have met several people from various countries all around Latin America, and I’ve always wanted the opportunity to learn more about their culture and society. Of course, every country is different, but I hope that this opportunity gives me some insight and perspective about another area of our world. My main motivation to enroll in this program is to go somewhere that I might not have gone to otherwise. Bolivia will be different than anywhere else I’ve ever gone before.
I really hope to get a good idea of what daily life is like for a typical Bolivian. I know it will be hard since we will only be there a month, but I want to see how the people live there. I am excited to see things like supermarkets and schools. I also really want the opportunity to speak with the locals. I look forward to going to a club with my friends or going to a local sporting event. However, this worries me, because I feel like my Spanish is not good enough to do so. One hope of mine is that my Spanish will improve while I am there. When it comes to sightseeing, I really want to see the Salt Flats. This is the number one thing that I would like to see in Bolivia. I am excited to see many other things as well, but for some reason, this excites me the most!
As I mentioned, I am nervous that my Spanish will not be good enough. I know my Spanish will improve, but I am worried that I will not take full advantage of the opportunity due to apprehension of being laughed at for my poor language skills. I know that this unrealistic, but it is a great fear of mine when speaking foreign languages. I am also worried that I will unknowingly make a faux pas or do something offensive due to cultural differences. Other than these two things, I really don’t have any other worries. I am mostly just excited to be able to have this opportunity!