by Jasper Ross
I was invited to an information session about the study abroad trip to Namibia; it caught my attention. NAMIBIA! “This will stand out on job applications” I thought to myself, “Wow, with this opportunity I can really change lives and do something great!” The process of coming to this study abroad trip was not an easy one. I went through a lot of hardships to be on this trip, being a psychology major with a speech impediment almost prevented me from attending. I have a story, we all do, but I was determined to not let being able to communicate effectively deter me from this wonderful opportunity.
Before going on this trip abroad, I really had to think, “What am I going to do with photojournalism and cultural pluralism in agriculture as a psychology major?” Well, I have always wanted to study abroad in college, study photography, and help others. “Remember, if you want to change the world, you have to change yourself,” one said. If you want to help someone succeed, you have to start with yourself.
I can combine new knowledge about photography, cultural pluralism, and psychology, to create something great. Studying different sectors in agriculture helps me acquire knowledge of farming, food security, and other issues that were unimportant to me before this trip. Not all learning happens in a classroom, as I found out from Damara mothers teaching their children how to make jewelry in their village.
My first thoughts before this trip were, “Wow! Africa! Is this really happening to me? I finally get to learn about different cultures, languages, the way people think, and about this strange group of people involved with this study abroad trip. This will be very interesting, combining programs with Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University. Hopefully, it turms out great!” I went into this trrip with an open mind and a sound heart, but what I have is a different perspective on life and a changed mind.
Aside from climbing a terrifying 1000 ft sand dune, what stood out most to me was the pleasure of learning and visiting three Namibian tribes: Topnaar, Damara, and the Himba. These visits brought me to the realization that everything does not revolve around Americans. Not only do I want to make a difference, I want others to make a difference in me. Seeing the raw tasks of hunting in the Himba village helped me better understand culture, food security, and life in Namibia.