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  • Writer's picturewassa123

A Day in the Life of a Fulbrighter (3 Months In)

Updated: Feb 26, 2022

I honestly can’t believe it’s been three months! It took me the better half of that time to get into a routine, but here it is: a day in my life as a Fulbrighter

Four out of five days a week, I wake up at 6:10 am, snooze my alarm a couple of times, eat breakfast, and get dressed, all in an attempt to get to school around 7:30. I walk out, greet the doormen, and hail a taxi for my five-minute cab ride over to Lycee Classique (LCA). Most days, I endure some sort of flirting from the cab driver (my favorite so far has been a man demanding my number even though I told him my husband is crazy and kills people), but always safely arrive at LCA in time for my first class.

How the day goes generally depends on the teacher I work with. By now, I have a good idea of their teaching styles and how/if they want me used in the class. Almost everyone lets me lead the warm-up. Some teachers see their days with me as a day off, and I’ll teach four classes as they grade in the back of the classroom. Others are very set in their ways, so I just monitor the students or read a book. Most teachers, though, encourage a mix: we swap out on classes, and I take the “fun” lessons and unit check-ins. I personally avoid grammar lessons like the plague, mostly because I learned it so long ago, and there are some rules I understand but can’t fully explain. I’ve never had a teacher ask me to teach a course I’ve said I’m uncomfortable with, but they will sometimes spring a lesson on me as we're walking to class.

I never get tired coming home to these trees

After work, I head home, to the embassy, or to some other plans. Most days, I am home by 4 pm, attend meetings, watch TV, exercise, and go to bed. If I’m out of LCA by noon, I probably stop at home for a nap and lunch, especially if I can do work remotely. The best days are when I get to work with local students on their college applications via the Education USA program at the embassy. Wherever I am, I hail a taxi home and almost always get out of my cab early to buy some fruit from my fruit lady, Eve.

Weekends fully depend on how tired I am and how full my bank account is. Sometimes I go visit my friends in other parts of the country or I stay in Abidjan for the nightlife.

In many ways, my life here mimics my life in the states. Some days I’m out until four am and sometimes I don’t leave my house for three days straight. There are times where we leave for a last-minute weekend adventure and then come home and watch movies for days on end. I have yet to go out for a proper brunch, but there’s a ton of eating out and cooking meals together.

I feel like I have so much free time here, so I've been reading a lot. I've already

finished four books and countless articles.

what I read months 1-3

Some of my cohort members are working on grad school, fellowship, or job applications, but I’ve focused my attention on nonacademic/career-oriented goals. I’m working on my French, my Bambarakan, and even my art! (shameless plug, my art will be featured in an online gallery in the new year. Link to come) This free time also means there’s so much to explore, and I really encourage you to make a bucket list of places and assign months to them. I did a touristy thing basically every weekend of September and October and I don’t regret it one bit.

I really struggle with what it means to “make the most” out of my time here. Nine months feels like a lifetime but also nothing at all, and the fact that I’m ⅓ through my time here hasn’t made the answer to this question any clearer. I’m not sure what it means to “maximize” my time here or if that’s even what I want. All I know is that I finally feel settled, and for the most part, I’m happy. We’ll see where I am three months from now. 🙂

And now, like any good zillennial, here’s a second a day compilation of my first three months:

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