Saturday, June 6, 2015

Student Introductions (2 of 7)

Next up, we will let Alec and Kevin introduce themselves and thank the many people and organizations that helped make their trip possible.

Dumela! Leina la me ke Alec. Ke a e ithuta environmental Science. This is Setswana, the traditional language of Botswana. It translates to: Hello! My name is Alec. I am studying Environmental Science. This fall I am going to be a second year student in the geography track of the Environmental Science Program. I am particularly interested in how environmental conditions can affect the health of populations as well as how diseases can stem from poor environmental conditions. Because of these interests and the fact that I have always had a fascination with Africa and African culture, I figured that this study abroad program was a perfect fit for me. Going into the trip I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as time has gone on I have grown accustomed to having eternally sandy feet, doing laundry in buckets, and falling asleep to the sound of Wildebeests outside my tent. I’d like to thank my parents, grandparents, the College of Liberal Arts study abroad scholarship fund, and everyone else who has contributed to enabling me to have this experience.

Hi! My name is Kevin -- or, in Setswana, "leina la me ke Kevin" -- and I'm a fourth-year studying neuroscience and psychology from Austin, Texas. After completing my undergraduate education, I plan on pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology. I hope to eventually open up a private practice while teaching and doing research at the university level. Why, then, am I studying climate change and vegetation in Southern Africa, you ask? Because I want to experience the world. In deciding where to study abroad, then, I asked myself, "Which program is out of the ordinary? Which program is going to pose a challenge? Which program is going to push me to be the absolute best version of myself that I can possibly be?" Needless to say, Botswana fit the bill to a tee. I didn't get here alone, though. I would first like to thank my parents and grandparents for their unconditional love and relentless support. I would also like to thank the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation for having named me a Rapoport Scholar at the beginning of my first year at The University of Texas, for their generous financial contribution is what made this trip -- and an undergraduate education -- possible. I am of the belief that the absolute best type of learning happens outside of one's comfort zone; I'm excited to experience that firsthand here in Botswana. I want to learn about myself and about the world around me and, perhaps most importantly, how those two pieces fit together. I want to change the world. Hook 'Em!

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