Study abroad group from Western blogging from Mongolia this summer

Western Today staff

A group of Western Washington University students and faculty members are abroad in Mongolia this summer on a study abroad program. Holly Diaz, a faculty member with the Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership, is co-leading the trip along with Karen Stout, director of the Leadership Institute and Bowman Distinguished Professor of Leadership at Western.

Students along on the trip are Megan Duncan, Krista Wagner, Pollete Trana, Jacob Castrejon, Schyler Duryee, Alex Essenberg, Madison Moore and Donna Wilson.

Members of the group are blogging about their experiences; follow along at The group will be abroad for 24 days.

Here's Duryee's post, titled "Here we MonGOlia," from the first day of travel:

Before the day of flying to Mongolia I was surprisingly pretty calm about being completely out of my comfort zone and having Mongolia with its different food, culture, and climate being the first country that I go to. I had stressors here and there but nothing prepared me for the amount of stress and heartache of leaving everything comfortable and familiar to me. It didn't fully hit me till I zipped up my duffle bag full of clothes, and having everything I needed lined up and ready to be on a 13 hour flight, and then seeing my partner wake and realize how hard it's going to be to leave him. I have never "ugly cried" harder in my life. I couldn't seem to pull myself together. When my partner and I showed up at the van that would be taking us to the Vancouver airport I was still uncontrollably sobbing and saw that no one else was outwardly feeling the same way I did. Immediately, since just finishing the latest season of Orange is the New Black, I was going by prison rules and thought that I would be ostracized because of showing my "weakness". After ten minutes of flooding my partner with all my concerns and "why am I doing" this we walked to the van and I was walked so warmly. My study abroad buddies were so sweet on not making me feel bad about my extreme nervousness for going out of my comfort zone and leaving loved ones behind. That's when I realized that this is the right thing for me to do and the right time to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. I even started to open up to these people that I was so vulnerable to and realized the beginning of this study abroad family taking shape.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 11:37am