Study Abroad: Sarah Mathys (C’19) – Uganda

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Sarah on the N-S Equator sign in Uganda

Where did you go? 

Kampala, Uganda.

What class did you enjoy most and why?

My study abroad culminated in a six-week independent research project, which was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I got to travel to rural Uganda by myself, design and lead my own qualitative research project, and write a 50+ page final report summarizing what I learned. It was so (so) much work, but taught me more about myself and the research process than any classroom experience ever could.

What is something that took you by surprise?

Culture shock is a process. Everything will be great and exciting for weeks, and then suddenly you’ll find yourself irritated at everything from the speed of public transportation to the huge quantities of matoke your host mom serves you every night at dinner. Being in touch with your emotional state is key and will help you learn and grow from your experiences.

What is something that you wish you knew before going?

In the spring, it rains in Uganda pretty much constantly. I brought neither rain boots nor a jacket. Definitely look at the climate of your destination before you pack!

Any advice to future study abroad students? (Can be specific to your location or about the process in general)

Definitely consider doing a non-traditional study abroad. Spending a semester in Europe sounds super fun, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences in Uganda for anything.