1 week....7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes until we are officially on our way! I wish I could say I didn't have much to do before we leave. However, that's not the case. On top of finishing up prework, packing, and working on my other online class still going on, the most important thing I need to finish is the planning for my son's 3rd birthday party on Saturday. It will be a crazy week, but definitely one that will fly by! I made one final shopping trip yesterday to pick up a few last minute things for the trip. I've started the packing process by laying things out. I can tell I am already beginning to over pack so I'm going to lay everything out and then begin to take items away. My husband should be a good help with this! He witnesses my over packing on every single trip we take!
For prework this week, the students worked in their groups to put together a PowerPoint. The PowerPoint included some information we discussed in earlier prework, but it also included new items such as technology and infrastructure, a look at unemployment rates, and research on the specific companies we are visiting while abroad. After receiving the final itinerary, we received word that one of our visits in Prague would be Cisco Systems. I already assigned the project by this time so I completed a PowerPoint on Cisco Systems in Prague and our visit to the Prague Castle complex. Students will review each other's PowerPoint projects to study for their prework final exam which will be open to take online later this week. I think most of the students will admit that the prework process has been invaluable to help all of us prepare for our adventure next week. I can't imagine going abroad without some preparation yet I fully realize no matter how much planning or preparation is done, there will be things that happen or situations that occur that I did not plan or expect.
This week I sent a number of reminders to students on packing, planning for the weather, information on our flights, carpooling to the airport, etc. I can tell the students are also getting excited that the study abroad trip is finally here! Many are sending me emails asking questions and making sure they are prepared. Just another sign our departure date is near!
As this entry comes to a close, I'd like to thank a number of people as I make final preparations for our trip:
1. My 93-year old grandma for encouraging me to travel and see the world. I actually turned this opportunity down the first time it was offered to me. I was worried about leaving my grandma who I look after, my husband, and my 3-year old son. I thought maybe there would be a better time and this summer wasn't it. My grandma quickly told me that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one I shouldn't let pass me by. Those words followed by her often saying she wished my grandpa and her would've traveled more definitely offered a different perspective.
2. My husband for supporting me always but especially his willingness to take on all our home responsibilities and encourage me to lead this study abroad experience. I'm blessed beyond belief to go through life with him by my side. He's a great husband, father, and friend! I don't think I fully understand how much I will miss Kori and Colin!
3. Northwest and the IIC (International Intercultural Center) for offering great international learning experiences such as our trip and Jeaneth for her guidance, logistical help, etc. It's not only great for students, but also for faculty members to get to continue learning through international experiences.
4. The students going on the trip - thank you for realizing the importance of international learning experiences and taking advantage of this opportunity to earn academic credit while learning and exploring Central/Eastern Europe! I know you (and your parents or others) have spent a significant amount of money for this study abroad trip. We have an exciting itinerary planned and I'm confident this will be one you always remember!