I have reached that point in my study abroad experience. Less than a month left and I am walking around my neighborhood like I own this place..but not really. I am chatting in Wolof to all my neighbors and my favorite street vendors on my way to school about how their family is doing, how I am doing, etc, I don't get ripped off on the car rapides anymore, I am not afraid of cars running me over as I cross extremely busy highways to get to school (as there are no traffic rules here), i hardly ever attract negative attention anymore, I belt out all the popular African club songs with my Senegalese family, I eat great street food, drink the tap water, I even bargain like a Senegalese person now! Things that seemed so shocking to me just a few months ago feels like a walk in the park now. It is a great feeling to be able to finally realize that you are comfortable in your host country especially one as difficult to fit in as Senegal. My host mom has even started to call me out on how Senegalese I am. I feel like I succeeded in accomplishing what I wanted to get out of my study abroad experience, to completely immerse myself in a very different culture than my own. I am going to take this moment to pat myself on the back...Unfortunately, there are only a few weeks left of my program until I turn back into a pumpkin and melt back into being an American. Though I do feel extremely comfortable here, I have been told that during the last few weeks of study abroad programs is when American's get all their stuff stolen because they put their guards down. Hearing that has made me try to be extra cautious, especially during these last few weeks. A few people in my program just last week decided to trust a stranger who led them to a seedy garage and started to get violent and followed them until they got help from a restaurant employee who eventually called the police on him. So this post is just a reminder to all you study abroader's enjoying your last few moments in your host country to be safe and enjoy every minute!!
ile de ngor