by Codie Fraley, Greenheart Travel Volunteer in Vietnam
Yesterday was my last official day of my year of college. Up until that point I haven’t had much time to think about Vietnam. I’ve been too burdened with school work, particularly Anatomy & Physiology. But that’s over so here I am. A week from now I’ll be boarding my flight. I don’t necessarily know how to explain how I’m feeling right now. I’m nervous about the whole flying process and I think I’ll be excited when I actually land in Vietnam. I don’t know what to expect in Vietnam other than what I read when I first signed up. I will be helping children with disabilities. Being in college to become a nurse this will give me valuable experience that will inspire me even more to become a nurse. I know it will be more than that though. I know I will be a changed person from this experience. The experience of raising nearly $3,000 myself and traveling half-way around the world to do something selfless. I know very little about Vietnamese culture. I was given a book to read to prepare me for the culture shock but I believe I’ll read it on the flight over, after all it is a day long flight.
People assume that I’m traveling with a group from college. They say “What group at USF is doing that?” and “How’d you hear about that?”. My friends and family are so surprised to think that I would research volunteering opportunities myself and go through the entire process alone. Inevitably I’m often asked, “Why don’t you just volunteer here, in America? We have plenty of people who need help.” But what’s the difference? People are people. Americans don’t come before any one else in my eyes. Also, I’ll be going out of my comfort zone in the most extreme way possible. I know this will be the most transformative experience of my life and for that, I am not nervous. I am ecstatic.