Writing from 3.387° S, 36.683° E
I love lists. A lot. Probably too much. If you read my study abroad blog at all then you probably noticed that about me. I like organizing my thoughts in a numbered order, making sure I don’t miss a single thing.
Now, I think typically people who say they love lists tend to be the Type A personalities who have a million To-Do lists at any one time — that’s not me. In fact, if you could read through the Notes app on my phone, you’d see that almost every list I keep is related to my post-grad plans:
- “Credit cards without foreign transaction fees”
- “Highest rated backpacks”
- “What to do when people visit me in Tanzania”
- “Places I would/could/should live”
- “Key Swahili words and phrases”
My longest list began way back in March of 2016, when I started looking into what I could do after my May 2017 graduation. It is called “Options for post-grad,” and I have spent more time alone with it in the past 18 months than I’ve spent with any real human.
The thing is, I don’t like to count anything out until I’ve had proper time to think about it. Anytime something sounds even remotely interesting or feasible to me, I copy down the link. Just in case.
That’s how this list got to be so long by the time I finally chose my volunteer program and pulled myself out of what I call the “Google hole.” Countless times over the past year, I sat down and started researching and fell deep into a Google hole — links lead to more links lead to new ideas and more list items. If you don’t cut yourself off, it can go on and on for months; I am a prime example of this.
Here are some of the more “unique” options from my list:
- Become the next Jane Goodall
- Walk around a specific neighborhood in India where people often get cast for Bollywood movies
- Get hired as a bartender on someone’s private yacht
- Go to sommelier school in France
When I say I write things down no matter how odd they seem, I mean it. (To be honest, I’m still highly considering a few of those… I’ll let you guess which ones.)
So why am I rambling about my love of lists (featuring several lists within my blog on lists — list-ception, if you will)? Well, this is the answer to the second most common question I’ve gotten over the last year.
How did you decide to go abroad after graduation?
How did you choose which program to go on?
How did you find your program in the first place?
This blog was my long answer. My short answer is this: fall into a Google hole. We are so lucky in this day and age to have access to an unreal amount of information. The only way to get started is to… well… start. For me, I spent countless hours researching programs and safety ratings and dream destinations and I just never stopped. Even now, researching potential travel options is the most relaxing way for me to spend a day off.
My recommendation for anyone wanting to find something to do that may be more unconventional is to just start looking. I hope you enjoy your Google hole as much as I enjoy mine.
If you’d like to know some of my favorite places to start, I follow several travel bloggers religiously and often look to them for ideas and advice to build on.
Additionally, gooverseas.com provides trustworthy info and reviews for study/ volunteer/ internship/ teaching opportunities and programs abroad.
A little plug for my program — I came to Arusha through an organization called Love Volunteers. They have projects all over the world, and their partner here is called Viva Tanzania. I have only been here for 6 days, but every morning I wake up insanely happy and excited to go to work. There are countless meaningful causes to get involved in; I highly recommend trying them out!
How? Part II — how did I actually make this happen? Saving, packing, logistics, etc.