Monday, 8 December 2014

Packing Tips & Words of Advice to Incoming Students

Words of Advice...

Mukono Town
“What I love about Uganda is that people do not let time run their lives. Yes, diving into this new adventure in a new country is scary and can be stressful, but be prepared to slow down here and to learn to take time less seriously. Learn to take yourself a little less seriously. Before coming, I wish I would have truly believed that it was going to be okay. Not only that, know that it's going to be an adventure that will leave you changed for the better.”
 - Olivia Lawrence (Current Homestay Student)

"I loved my time in Uganda specifically because of the real friendships that I have been able to create with Ugandans, and I will miss this part the most, the people I'll leave behind.  I have learned so many things here, so much about the culture and the language as well as several things about myself that I never would have learned had I not taken the step into the unknown." 
- Brigitte Zyla (Current On-campus student)

"Coming to Uganda, I expected the worst...cold showers, daily rice and beans, people I did not know, and everything else that I had been told about living here. However, perspective and attitude dramatically changes once you step off of the plane and begin to experience God's presence in this beautiful country! Showers are chilly (not going to lie) but you don't have to bucket bathe, rice and beans can easily be jazzed up with some garlic salt or your other favorite spices, and the Ugandans you meet will become your sisters and brothers in no time. Once I learned to give myself fully to the process, I was able to relax and enjoy each and every challenge that came my way. As we are about to leave this beautiful community-filled place, I encourage you to push yourself to places where you are uncomfortable. Talk to strangers, eat grasshoppers, take the opportunities to run with honors college at 5:30am, attempt to order a rolex in Luganda, and embrace the birthday bath day traditions! It is in the most uncomfortable space that you will learn the most about God, yourself, and this culture."
-Krista Vermeer (Current On-Campus Student)

Market Day in Mukono Town
"You will love the hospitality in Uganda! People will go above and beyond to make you feel welcome; it's a great opportunity to form close relationships and honor one another! Learn all you can from the people who open up their lives to you! This is what you will remember the most."
- Lauren Nadolski (Current Homestay Student)

Mukono Shops
“Embarking on this adventure is scary. It’s not easy and at times you’re going to want to go home. But remember why you came here; it will keep you going. It took a while, but I can without a doubt say that I am in love with Ugandan culture. The hospitality, generosity, and openness of Ugandans made this experience here one I will never forget. So, be open. Try new things. Don’t think about home so much. Be present. And remember that at the end of the semester, you will only regret the things you didn’t do, so don’t be afraid to try!” 
- Jamie Patterson (Current Homestay Student)

The beautiful red dirt roads you will grow to know and love...

Tips on what to pack...

Moleskin Notebook
Moleskin notebook - Its small and compact so I carry it literally everywhere I go. It's great for jotting down quick notes, thoughts, or feelings right in the moment. Big journals can be more retrospective when you write in them at the end of the day. I prefer to write down exactly what I'm thinking or feeling right when it's happening so my moleskin is perfect for that.
"I wish someone had told me more clearly that the dress is more business casual than "missionary" dress."
You will learn to carry this everywhere!
 Nalgene water bottle (bigger better than smaller)

Five-subject Notebook

More than one pair of nice sandals

V-neck t-shirts (one white, one black, one gray, one brown, one pink). These things are the items of clothing I'm so thankful I brought.

Battery powered alarm clock.  This little gem has saved me many mornings!  It's been much more helpful than my phone just because I charge it every night and I can't keep it close to my bed.

My fingernail clippers/polish (your fingernails will never be as clean as you'd like them and nail polish is a great way to cover it up. Plus it's a great thing to do with some of your Ugandan girlfriends. They love it!)

My ukulele. If you play any small instruments they really come in handy. It was a friend magnet first of all. And secondly it allowed me some good worship time and helped me to get some good alone time in with Jesus.

Chacos - It can be any sturdy sandal really. I just like having a pair of shoes that I know can survive anything. They're comfortable and I could walk in them all day. They can get wet and muddy and all that good stuff and still feel great. 

A light wrap - good for wearing around
your home or dorm
Light blanket/wrap - if you don't have one of these, you can buy one in Uganda!  These have many different uses - towel, blanket, wrap...etc.

I'm happy I didn't bring a whole semesters worth of doxycycline (You can easily buy it in Uganda for a lot less money...but be sure to start your pills before you come and at least bring a months worth!)

School supplies (pens, pencils, notebook...etc)

All the underwear that you own =)

Wet wipes


Cardigans (1 neutral and 1 color)

Cross body bag/purse

Maxi skirt (bring 2 if you can, or one maxi and one mid-calve)

"Don't worry about a thing. You are prepared and equipped for everything, and have an inexhaustible amount of resources at your fingertips when you arrive in Uganda."

*all photos by Joanna Benner

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