Gearing Up For My First Trip Abroad

Hello all,

My name is Jake Boomer. I’m a rising junior at Ole Miss, double majoring in History and Anthropology. I’m originally from Nashville, Tennessee, but currently live in Colorado Springs. I enrolled in this field school because I absolutely love anthropology and was waiting for a chance to do research in the field. The Bolivian field school gives me a chance to do just that. I also plan on continuing my anthropology education in grad school, so I am also this field school can guide me towards interesting possibilities for research projects.  I am beyond excited to get to La Paz and experience living abroad, albeit briefly, for the first time in my life.

I’ve never traveled outside the United States. This is a completely new experience for me. I hope to learn not only how to apply anthropological methods, but also to learn all I can about Bolivian people and culture. Our itinerary is full of new and fascinating things for me. As a history major, I am particularly interested in visits to archives. On my own time, I am hoping for a chance to visit the Salar de Uyuni.

I don’t have my concerns about the program or traveling. While I am a bit green when it comes to traveling, I consider myself to be pretty adaptable to new situations.  The altitude of La Paz is a bit daunting, but I currently live at around 6000 feet and know how to deal with a little altitude. Of course, I don’t want to get too cocky, push myself too hard, and end up with altitude sickness. I suppose my biggest concern is my Spanish. I took the AP test in high school, so I didn’t have to take any language classes at Ole Miss. That means it’s been over two years since my last Spanish class. I’ve been practicing, so hopefully I can learn/remember enough to get by.

One thought on “Gearing Up For My First Trip Abroad

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  1. Living in Colorado will certainly help … but it will still be an adjustment. Once you adjust, though, there are a lot of places just outside the city where you could go mountain hiking (if that’s your thing). You’l also really see the layers of history in La Paz, even just outside of archives or museums. The city is nearly 500 years old, with pre-Columbian civilizations nearby that predate that by as much as a 1,000 years. So definitely good for history. I’m more fascinated by the “modern” history and seeing how La Paz has adapted its “indigenous” culture to include things like 1900s bowler hats and 18th century pleated layered skirts (polleras) for the contemporary cholita dress. Keep your eyes open, and you’ll see a lot of things that will spark questions.

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