California State University-Long Beach
1. What has your experience abroad taught you about the rest of the world?
One of the greatest and humbling experiences I had abroad was volunteering at a refugee center. Before studying abroad, in my migration class at my home institution we talked a lot about the African migration to Europe as well as the refugee crisis. I always thought it was all very far away, and there was nothing I could do to help. When I first saw what we discussed in class, it was such intense feeling to witness it all. I started volunteering at the refugee center it made me feel incredible to know I was helping these kids even if it was just by doing a small action. It made me realize that although I was a migrant myself at one point, I did not face the extreme and dangerous journey they did. I got very close to these children because I know what it feels like to have to adapt to a new place and learn a new language. Although we have slight similarities, we had more differences. I live in a world where I have everything whereas they don’t. Volunteering at the refugee center had taught me amazing life lessons. It taught me to be patient and understanding and left me with a more open mind. It taught me how different the place I live is compared to Europe. For example, Spain had taken a more positive approach toward migrants, although they are in an economic crisis while the US has chosen to close its doors. I think it is important to know what these people are going through. It is important to know about issues going on around the rest of the world. That is what studying abroad did for me, it opened my mind even more and helped me see things in a different perspective.
2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?
I know you hear people often say it changes your life, well it is true! Studying abroad helps you grow as a person and you find yourself being more open-minded and adventurous. Leaving home to a whole new place can be scary. I’m telling you because I was feeling it, but, once I saw all those beautiful places and met the most amazing people, I was glad I had left home because I wouldn’t have experienced it all. There’s so much to do and so much to see. It’s a whole new world that deserves to be seem. Seeing a different country every weekend and trying different foods is something many people dream of. If you’re fortunate enough to do it, do it. It’s something I guarantee you won’t regret.