Senior La'Terria Taylor wrapped up her Northwestern women's basketball career in late March, but she then started a brand new journey thousands of miles from campus. Taylor is spending her final undergraduate quarter abroad, studying public health and development in South Africa through Northwestern's Office of International Program Development (IPD).
The Chicago native is experiencing it all while in South Africa, and she’s blogging about her adventures along the way. Taylor has a full course load with four classes and also participates in weekly service learning programming. She was placed at Prochorus, a community development organization designed to address the gaps in education among South African children.
Taylor spends a majority of her time in a Creche (a system very much like pre-school, in which parents in poor areas can drop off their children for the day for free). She’s also worked with children at an after-school program, where she helped kids with math, writing, art, and sports.
After her first few weeks in the program, Taylor had already learned some valuable life lessons that she will carry with her forever.
"This trip has been such a humbling experience," Taylor said while checking in via email from South Africa. "It has truly taught me to appreciate what you have; whether that's our thriving and mature democracy, the diversity that exists in our everyday lives in the states, or the roof over your head.
"It has also taught me what it truly means to be open-minded and non-judgmental through the many South Africans that we have been able to work alongside and the community that we have been able to help.
"Lastly, it has taught me to have more of that ‘live in the moment’ mentality. So often I'm always planning my next move or thinking so far ahead that the adventures we've had here in South Africa have definitely shown me that I have to learn to live more in the now and to just have fun."
Taylor's new "live in the moment" outlook has helped her take advantage of everything South Africa and her study abroad program have to offer. She’s hiked through the picturesque South African mountains, participated in her university's international food night, and even showed off her adventurous side by paragliding.