Why did you decide to study abroad?
I have always wanted to travel the world. We, as American students, learn about the world in our textbooks or news coverage, but rarely do any of us travel to these places in search of learning something. Coming from a low-income family, I only dreamed of leaving the US, always promising myself when I get older and got more money that I'll go to Mexico or Europe for a vacation. Then I got to college where I learned that I am capable of anything that I put my mind to. I began to meet people from different countries and hear stories of their home. That is when I decided that I needed to travel, but not to just one country. I needed to see the world, and I knew that Semester at Sea would help me achieve that goal. I would have never thought in a million years that I would have the opportunity to travel to the many countries that I did. I believe my biggest influence was the fear that I would forever be stuck in America, completely unaware of the entire world that I had access to.
How did you pay for your study abroad experience?
I used government loans, scholarships, and grants. The biggest attributors to my ability to go to Semester at Sea was the Buffs Abroad Scholarship and the Diversity Abroad Scholarship. Without them I do not think that I would have made it on my voyage.
What is one thing you wish you would have known about studying abroad before you left?
I wish that I would have known about the amount of stuff I should have packed and what kind of suitcase to bring. My advice to any students thinking about going abroad is to DO IT! while you are young and open-minded, so whatever it takes to see a cultural unlike your own.
Did you experience any discrimination abroad because of your race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or a physical disability? If so, what did you learn from the experience?
I identify as a half white, half black male, that is non-religious. It is hard for me to answer that question because I have never in my life been surrounded by people who look and identify like me. I have not directly faced discrimination in an offensive manner, but that does not mean I haven't face any kind of discrimination.
How has studying abroad benefited you, personally and academically?
I have seen the world. I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. This experience has made me appreciate everything that I have and that I am lucky to have access to a higher education. I find myself more aware of my surrounding and the people around me. I look for and support diversity because I have personally seen what good it can do for a community. As far as career goes, I know that I want to teach English in Ghana or India, or Vietnam, but I also have a passion for diversity and inclusion in the business world.
Any additional comments or thoughts that you have about your study abroad experience