Alumni Spotlight: Rachel LeMont

My main goal in life is to see the world, I'm working everyday to achieve that goal!

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Rachel is a Pre-Veterinary / biology student at Portland State University. Some of her favorite things are hiking around the Pacific Northwest, traveling, rainy movie days, trying new foods, and (last but definitely not least) animals! Although being a veterinarian is a huge goal of hers, traveling the world and experiencing as many different cultures as possible is her main one!

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I have a passion for both animals and travel. Traveling to Africa to be able to work directly with animals is just not an opportunity you get everyday! I loved the idea of learning more about wildlife conservation, meeting new people, and immersing myself into a culture that is so different from my own.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider let me know what documents I needed to have ready, and they helped me make sure that I was packed appropriately for the activities we were doing. They also gave me tips on what I should and shouldn't do in an unknown country.

All of the activities were already organized which was great! Basically all I had to do was book my flight for the right dates, make sure that I had all of the right equipment packed, and fly on over!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't spend a bunch of money on medications like anti-diarrhea pills or re-hydration salts - all of the food that we ate was fresh and all of the water was good! Also, leave room in your duffel bag for souvenirs.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Everyday we did something new and exciting and fun! One day we were hanging out with cheetahs, the next we were on a night safari in Kruger National Park, and the next we were walking around in a giraffe sanctuary with them walking right up to us - you will never be bored!

Even the lectures were so interesting, and you were able to apply what you learned right then and there. Every night we had campfire talks that brought the group closer and closer together.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

Oh, where do I start... This was my first time traveling abroad by myself - with no friends or family. I was really nervous that it would not be what I expected and I would have no way to get home, maybe I wouldn't like my group or my guide. But as you can tell, that was not the case.

The trip was even more amazing than I expected and I am now really close friends with the whole group!

Just try to open up with the group so you can really connect - they are obviously all interested in the same things as you!