Outside of my Comfort Zone-Being an American Overseas

Hello, thanks for joining me!

So this past week has been full of surprises and unexpected experiences. I began to take my classes, and I have already learned so much about Cameroonian society and culture. I also had a cold which created some unexpected challenges for me emotionally, physically, and mentally. I found it harder to communicate and think in French, and I was working extra hard to pay attention and participate in my classes. All of this happening at once caused me to feel a little frustrated and overwhelmed. However, I rose to each challenge and I communicated with the faculty, my host family, and my classmates to ensure that I was able to receive the support that I needed.

For one assignment, each person in the group was required to partner with another student and find their way around the city of Yaounde using a list of locations and phrases. It was something that I was expecting to be out of my comfort zone, but in the end I actually ended up helping out other people in my class with street-smart skills! I learned how to catch a taxi, (even though it took a while) and I was able to find my way around the campus of University of Yaounde 1 with the help of my friend Ruva. In my French class, we were required to do a similar activity at the marketplace, which I found to be a little more challenging because I’m having trouble with remembering larger numbers. However I was able to buy my favorite snack-coconut chips, which are known here as noix de coco.

Being on the campus of University de Yaounde 1 and sightseeing in Yaoundé has really opened my eyes to what it means to be “a privileged American”. Trying to find public restrooms here can be a bit of a struggle. Also, you may not have the option of toilet paper available, and if you do it’s not free. In the States we take so many small things for granted that are thought of as second nature, and in other countries are considered a luxury. Overall, being here has really made me realize that my small concerns and worries of everyday life are really nothing compared to how other people live in their everyday lives. So in the future when I want to complain about something, I will have these experiences to look back on to change and shift my perspective.

Lastly, this past weekend I went with my SIT group to an animal sanctuary called Ape Action Africa and it was a pretty cool experience. One of the gorillas thought it was a good idea to toss his food at our group. Lol! We also went to an art school that had some pretty cool sculptures, which you can see in the pictures below. Make sure you check back in each week to see what else I’ve experienced here in Cameroon!

X.O.X.O.,

-L.M.

P.S. I met some pretty amazing girls in the Peace Corps, and as shown below we took a group pic at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Yaoundé 😊

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