One of the most exciting things about this time of year, apart from winter break and the holiday season of course, are the projects that our students are either coming back from or preparing to go to. WPI students have the opportunity to study abroad multiple times during their four years, but most that do take advantage of the opportunity choose to do so for their interactive project. As a Junior, I am about to begin my preparation for my trip to Namibia, a small country just North of South Africa, in D Term (March and April). Though I will not be traveling for a couple of months, I have my project and my team secured, and we will begin our researching when we return for classes in mid January. Our research will be structured as part of the preparation course that each student who travels abroad is required to take. By starting this early, we can ensure that we are ready to go as soon as our plane lands at the airport in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city.
As our group begins our preparation, it is always exciting to look at the students that just returned, and those that will be flying out within the next two weeks. Over the past two months, those of us in Worcester have been looking with envy at pictures of our friends on the beaches of Cape Town, Costa Rica, and Panama when they weren’t busy working on their projects. At the same time, other students were taking on different challenges and sending back amazing pictures from China and Venice, Italy. Now that they have returned, we are all looking forward to getting back to school so that we can hear all about the amazing journeys that they have just finished and some of us are just beginning.
One thing that often goes unnoticed with these projects is the impact that our students are having in the countries that they travel to. Whether that be improving the natural habitats of Costa Rica, or working with settlements in Cape Town, WPI students work for seven weeks to improve the lives of others in whatever way is needed. As we enjoy time with family and friends this holiday season, the work that WPI students have done over the years is undoubtedly still having an impact around the world. Personally, I cannot wait to add to this effort in a few short months, and add my team’s mark to the community that we get the opportunity to work with.