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Mentor Advice

Question

How did you become interested in study abroad, travel abroad, cultures and languages?

9 Replies from Mentors

  • mentor picture Rae Rae
     
    Rae Rae
    Senior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    It all started when I was barely 12 for me, when we had to choose either Spanish or French as...
    It all started when I was barely 12 for me, when we had to choose either Spanish or French as a second language in school. I chose French, mostly because everyone else in my school chose Spanish and I wanted to be different. I loved French class, and quickly excelled. By the time I was 15 I had already completed AP level French and decided the only way to actually test my skills was to go to France. I had never traveled more than a couple hours away from my house, let alone another country but I was determined to do it. I’d always been interested in other cultures. In high school I took European History instead of the popular American history choice, World Religions, and in college I continued this interest by taking more classes to learn about different cultures. In my opinion, you can’t know yourself unless you know others. Meeting people of different backgrounds, even while in America, and learning about their experiences gives you a greater perspective on things and makes you evaluate your own beliefs and practices as well.
  • mentor picture Danilo Bonilla
     
    Danilo Bonilla
    International Programs Counselor
    UCLA Education Abroad Program
    One of things that sparked my interest was the experience of moving from Ecuador to California. ...
    One of things that sparked my interest was the experience of moving from Ecuador to California. Another thing was that my high school hosted several international exchange students every year. There were some teachers and students that believed these exchange students were an asset to the high school and integrated them through active class room participation and social events. There were some families and teachers that also hosted these exchange students, including my own family. We hosted two students. It was during high school that I became interested in pursuing a career in study abroad. As I mentioned before, my first official travel abroad experience through a program was during the summer after graduating from high school. Soon after starting my university career, I started taking foreign language courses. I started with French in high school and continued taking it during my first couple of years in college. Then, I also became interested in taking another Romance language, Italian. It eventually led me to study in Italy for one year. During the time that I have been working for EAP, I have had the opportunity to travel to some of our partner universities and cities abroad. Some countries that I have visited are Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay. All of the traveling and my work with international students motivated me to learn more and be more involved with people who have had experiences abroad. For example, I started to get involved in an international student club. In addition, my past experiences abroad motivated me to try to learn yet another romance language. This time I’m trying to learn Portuguese.
  • mentor picture Kemi
     
    Kemi
    Programming and Outreach Coordinator at an independent film co-op
    Victoria Society of Independent Film Makers
    I wanted to see and learn about new places and cultures. I also wanted to be more competitive in...
    I wanted to see and learn about new places and cultures. I also wanted to be more competitive in the job market. Becoming proficient in another language as well as proving that I could take the initiative to carve a different path for myself and adapt to a new culture would give me a competitive edge. This was my thinking when I embarked upon my very first study abroad experience.
  • mentor picture Additional Mentor
     
    Additional Mentor
    Various students and administrators
    interviewed by the Center for Global Education


    Lillian, Novia, Margret, Melissa, and Joshua, Students, studied in the United Kingdom, South Korea, France and Japan, New Zealand, and Costa Rica
    These students recommend taking the chance to study abroad, and describe how it was an amazing learning experience.
  • mentor picture Malaika Marable Serrano
     
    Malaika Marable Serrano
    Assistant Director of Global Communities
    University of Maryland
    My interest in study abroad started with my father. When he was in school, he studied abroad at...
    My interest in study abroad started with my father. When he was in school, he studied abroad at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. While he was there, he heard a song called “Malaika.” He really liked the song and he thought to himself, “If I ever have a daughter, I’m going to name her ‘Malaika.’” I grew up hearing stories of my father’s adventures abroad and this inspired me to study abroad when I went to college. After my first study abroad experience (I spent a semester in Australia) I decided to pursue a career in international education. In grad school, I wrote my thesis on international student adjustment and went on a J-term program to Brazil. After graduation, I moved to Caracas, Venezuela and taught English for a year. Now I work as a Programs Abroad Coordinator at the University of Tennessee!
  • mentor picture Kimberly
     
    Kimberly
    Senior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    I have always been interested in traveling and studying other cultures and languages. Ever since I...
    I have always been interested in traveling and studying other cultures and languages. Ever since I was little, my parents have encouraged me to travel. I feel that traveling helps to expose you to new environments and people. Majoring in Sociology, I learn about different cultures and social structures. I believe that study abroad is a good experience to apply knowledge I learned in the classroom to the outside world. This is why when I heard about studying abroad, I knew that I immediately wanted to take part in this experience. Also, I felt that studying abroad would be a great opportunity to make new friends and to gain new insights before graduating in a couple of months.
  • mentor picture Sister Souljah
     
    Sister Souljah
    Activist, Novelist, Actress, and Hip-Hop Artist
    Daddy's House Social Programs Inc.
    I spoke to a crowd of students about growing up in the housing projects of the Bronx. I...
    I spoke to a crowd of students about growing up in the housing projects of the Bronx. I described how my thirst for knowledge about my own culture, even from a very young age, shaped the decisions I made and ultimately allowed me to take classes at Cornell and take advantage of opportunities to study abroad in Spain and Africa. I stressed to the assembled students the importance of believing in one's own ability to accomplish anything, and to not let financial or social obstacles stand in the way.
  • mentor picture Ashley
     
    Ashley
    Junior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    I became interested in study abroad after having visited London and knowing that there was so much...
    I became interested in study abroad after having visited London and knowing that there was so much to take in. I thought three and a half months there would be adequate, but I could have been there longer. I also had a few friends that had studied abroad that greatly encouraged me. Once I was in London, I was excited to travel to other countries since they were so easy to get to once I was already in Europe. These countries were all so close together, yet they were all so different in their culture, language, nature, geography, etc. I wish I could have experienced them all!
  • mentor picture Janeth
     
    Janeth
    Junior Year Student
    Loyola Marymount University
    Since I was a child, my parents liked to travel and so I became interested in traveling from an...
    Since I was a child, my parents liked to travel and so I became interested in traveling from an early age. I grew up in a Salvadorian background, in a very diverse city, and had friends from many other ethnicities, so I was always curious about other cultures. As I grew older, I knew that I wanted to travel and explore more of the world. I knew that I would be able to do this and more through studying abroad. It was an excellent opportunity to see new parts of the world, experience a new culture and learn a new language.
 
 
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