My hands were full as I hurried across the campus of my university to a 6 pm study session on a Monday night last September. I was juggling my free sandwich, a bag of chips, my dad’s birthday present, and the drink I purchased while waiting for my free sandwich to arrive. As I made my way to the library and continued to juggle my various parcels, I chose to cut through the main academic building to shorten the walk. When I opened the glass doors, I recalled passing by a red table on my way to class earlier that morning. Sure enough, when I rounded the corner of the hallway, the table was still there. To my surprise, two volunteers manning the booth cheerfully waved to me as I passed by (keep in mind that this is now 6:15 pm on a MONDAY night, and they were still super cheerful and welcoming!). My curiosity surpassed my desire to reach my waiting study group, so I arranged my array of items on the edge of their table with a sheepish grin. Within minutes I had been given pamphlets, a thorough explanation, and an information booklet. In return, I wrote down my phone number to receive more information. I wasn’t planning on pursuing the opportunity right then, but I figured that it might be a neat experience to consider after my undergraduate degree is completed in a few years. I thanked the kind recruiters, reassembled my growing pile of “stuff” in my arms, waved goodbye, and finally reached my study group thirty minutes late.
After an informational phone call a mere two days later, I spent hours examining the organization’s website and talking to my parents. I began to contact people that had traveled with this particular organization, and I researched the different countries I could potentially visit. At this point in the journey I still had no intentions of actually going; I was merely curious and wanted to learn more. A few weeks later, I called my dad after I finished my phone interview (I chose to complete the interview solely to gain experience) and announced that I had been accepted onto the summer team. I had two weeks to make a decision that I never thought I’d have to make. Suddenly, an opportunity that I had only viewed through a lens of pure curiosity had shifted into a pinnacle moment of my first year of college- should I stay, or should I go?
After spending time in prayer, I realized that I had literally run out of questions to ask. Every single question that I could possible fathom had been answered. This opportunity checked off every item on my dream list of characteristics for a summer teaching program, and so I made my decision. In early October, I committed to travel to Hong Kong during the Summer of 2017 to teach English to my future students, and I signed my contract to join the team.
I am wildly nervous, beyond excited, and completely stoked to be a mere three weeks away from my departure date. My hope is that my friends and family will enjoy following along in my adventures overseas, and I plan to periodically give updates and share stories throughout the summer. Thank you for your support!