Overall, this trip was a truly amazing experience. I thought the course had a great balance of both academic and exploration experiences because we got to do what we set out to do by raising awareness to the different people of the Bahamas all while having a blast experiencing the sights and activities the fun location of The Bahamas brings. Aside from all of the medical testing and terminology related to diabetes that I’ve picked up, throughout the trip I’ve learned many things that I hope to keep with me and use during the rest of my life. I’ve learned that people come first; it’s the conversation with the individual that you will remember more than the number you are testing. I’ve also learned to be more patient. When things didn’t quite go according to plan, I learned to shake it off and let myself think it’s okay and we’ll work through it. Also, I’ve learned that although I can be a quiet person, I like to be up in front of a group and share my knowledge with students. When I first began the presentations I was quite nervous, but as I got more comfortable I really started to enjoy talking and interacting with the kids. Some of my favorite memories were at the schools—seeing their faces light up when we gave them attention and just had conversations with them was such a gift to experience.
If I had advice to give a student thinking about taking this course in the future, I’d say just do it. This little phrase can help out with practically any situation. The more things you allow yourself to participate in, the more great experiences and memories you will have. Even when I was tired and didn’t feel like doing some things that the group was doing, I told myself that I didn’t want to miss out because I wanted every experience that I could possibly have.
Although I feel that I am still the same person I was before the trip, I can confidently say that I know more about myself because I had this experience. Being away from home for a month is a very long time—the longest that I have ever spent away from my family and friends. This trip has made me realize that I am more of an independent person than I thought. I’ve always loved traveling, and this adventure leaves me wanting more. I know now that I can be far away from home and can still be okay and focused on the task at hand. I’ve also grown to appreciate interacting with people. In The Bahamas, everyone is so friendly and kind-hearted and they truly care about how you are doing; I want to bring that feeling back home and remember that feeling as long as I can.
All in all, this was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am so thankful that I was chosen to be a part of it. I’m ready to go back! Same time next year??