Hear from Current and Former Students on Why You Should Study Abroad

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By Khadejah Stegall

Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and graduate of North Carolina A&T University.

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience. When you live in a different country away from friends and family, you are able to find yourself. Studying abroad can get pricey, especially if you already have student loans. There are many scholarships out there that can fund your trip and gofundme.com is always an option as well. Hear from different students around the world that studied abroad and their experience.

"Studying abroad, for me was like a breath of fresh air. Having the opportunity to experience the fun and adventure of interacting with people from all over the world, learning about diverse cultures and tasting delicious new foods were socially and intellectually enriching for me. I wish more students of color would partake in this life-enhancing learning experience. I have been fortunate to study abroad twice, thus far, in Berlin, Germany and Kingston, Jamaica."

Angelena Castro, Studied Abroad in Berlin, Germany and Kingston, Jamaica. Junior at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

 

"I couldn't walk on the cobblestones without tripping. I didn't know where to look for street signs when I was lost. I couldn't even pronounce arrivederci. The beginning of my semester abroad in Rome, Italy was overwhelming and unfamiliar when it should have been so simple. That's what studying abroad, I realized four months later, is supposed to be: a four-month fumbling over words, over directions, over etiquette. Traveling throughout Europe, climbing the Eiffel Tower, riding a gondola in Venice -- that's truthfully why I wanted to study abroad. I did all of those things, and I will remember them, but it's the difficulties I faced and the resilience I developed that make me most grateful for my study abroad experience. It was being able to navigate the streets of Trastevere with ease, ordering my cappuccino like a local and leaving four months later with the ability to deliver a proper goodbye: Arrivederci."

Kelly Meyerhofer, Studied Abroad in Rome, Italy and Alumna of Marquette University

 

“I studied abroad in the summer of 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, and it was the best experience of my life for so many reasons. From being lost and stumbling across hidden gems, meeting strangers who are now good friends, adjusting to the foreign language everyone is speaking around you, to traveling to 13 cities within three countries, studying abroad is definitely something one MUST experience while in college, especially people of color. Did you know less than 2% of US college students study abroad, in that, only about 5% are African-American? With this experience being my first time out of the country, there was a lot of uncertainty about how things would be. Once in Barcelona though, the uncertainty turned into curiosity, curiosity turned into a learning experience, and that learning experience has helped me to better shape my career and personal goals and become more aware of all the culture and customs outside my own.”

Paris C. Lynch, Studied Abroad in Barcelona, Spain and Alumna of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

 

"I did my first study abroad program in London the summer after my sophomore year. I'm not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. It opened up my world view, taught me the value of engaging with different folks from all walks of life and instilled in me a thirst for further global travel. I've since been back to London, done another study abroad in Paris and Normandy, and done a reporting fellowship in Japan. The options seem endless now!"

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Leah Johnson, Studied Abroad in London, Europe and Alumna of Indiana University

 

“I studied abroad in Thailand the summer of my junior year of high school through a scholarship. I think it benefited me because it challenged me to experience life through the perspective of someone who lives a completely different life than me with different food and culture. Nevertheless, being with a loving host family who accepted me as a daughter helped me realize that we, as humans, have so much in common of appreciating family, wanting to work hard and caring for others. Regardless of where in the world we are, we share common core values of a desire for love, prosperity and happiness. This has changed my life because I can connect more easily with different ethnic backgrounds. I want to listen; I want to learn about diverse cultures. This is imperative now with the messaging that we get from media sometimes portraying Muslims or Mexicans in a negative perspective. I know that behind these stereotypes there are individuals who are living with my same values and we are interconnected even if we live in various locations.”

Vanessa Salomon, Studied Abroad in Thailand and Alumna of Mills College

 

“My semester abroad in Thailand was full of so many sights. I saw not only beautiful beaches, mountains, and people but I also saw parts of myself revealed that I never knew laid within me. The smells of the fresh food and sounds of foreign language are things I hope I never forget. There are so many myths around studying abroad, but life isn't always full of opportunities for you to change your perspective. My advice is if you have the chance, take the risk and spend a semester learning about more than what's in the textbook in front of you.”

Patti Kamara, Studied Abroad in Bangkok, Thailand, and Senior at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

 

Resources to help you study abroad:

https://www.yfuusa.org/

http://sytayouthfoundation.org/

https://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/scholarships-grants/

http://www.jkcf.org/

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/grants-educational-travel-high-school-students-57040.html

http://www.nafsa.org/About_Us/About_International_Education/For_Students/U_S__Study_Abroad_Scholarships_and_Grants_List/

http://www.coca-colascholarsfoundation.org/apply/


 Khadejah Stegall is a mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com.