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Mentor Profile


mentor picture Jessica
Graduate Student
Loyola Marymount University
As a bi-racial female from Baltimore, Maryland, I didn’t grow up with too many people who looked like me (and sometimes mistook being different as being marginal). I majored in fine arts at Towson University and had the... As a bi-racial female from Baltimore, Maryland, I didn’t grow up with too many people who looked like me (and sometimes mistook being different as being marginal). I majored in fine arts at Towson University and had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy while a junior. Traveling and studying abroad facilitated a deeper understanding of my course of study, but more importantly informed me of who I am and what I am capable of. Living away from my country of origin was at once exhilarating, liberating, and grueling. I learned quickly that not only is it acceptable to be different, but that what make us unique should be cherished and celebrated. Currently, I am in my second year of graduate school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles studying Marital and Family Therapy with specialization in the modality of Art Therapy. This past summer I was able to study in Mexico to gain clinical psychotherapeutic skills related to cultural sensitivity and examined how art making can facilitate this process. Through the Art Therapy program at LMU, I traveled to San Miguel de Allende where I attended class with both American and Mexican students. Here I examined cultural implications in the client/therapist relationship and also faced issues related to my own cultural identity as a bi-racial Filipina American. I also traveled to different villages along Mexico’s pacific coast to closer explore indigenous Mexican culture. As well as my cultural identity, the experience of studying abroad as a graduate student informed greatly my professional identity as a Marital and Family and Art therapist and increased my competency to serve clients of cultures outside of my own.


  1. So many emotions surfaced as I reached my destination country! Primarily, I felt simultaneously estatic and nervous about learning in a completely new environment. It's important to maintain a perspective that it's normal to feel uncomfortable at times to enjoy the unknown.
    5 answers – While Abroad
  2. After each of my study abroad trips concluded, I realized what I learned had far exceeded my expectations. The trips expanded my understanding of different cultures and of myself. This type of learning is continuous and to this day allows me to connect with new ideas and people.
    4 answers – Personal
  3. The more diversity the better! By creating relationships with people of different backgrounds my understanding of the world deepened, which I found to be humbling and empowering. In addition, establishing relationships with people of other nationalities has facilitated increased travel opportunities.
    8 answers – Personal
  4. I think a good rule of thumb is to pack everything you think you will need for your trip, then eliminate the volume by one half (or more!). I did this both times I studied abroad and realized I still had taken too much. Almost anything you need will be available in your destination country.
    2 answers – Before You Leave
  5. Modes of transportation are very dependant on the country you choose to study in. My experience has been that transportation is usually done by mass transit (bus, train) or by foot. I almost never needed a personal car for transportation, which was very liberating.
    2 answers – While Abroad
  6. Housing in other countries vary in nature but can be very cheap. I've stayed in guesthouses, hotels, hostels, and personal residences. In addition to checking out websites and travel books, word of mouth has proven to be a great way to find housing. I have been very lucky with meeting hospitable, generous people in my travels. In Mexico, for example, through some internet research and word of mouth, I connected with a spunky local who let a friend and I stay in a a great guesthouse with a full kitchen a few yards from the beach for only about 15 USD a day per a person.
    2 answers – Housing

  7. Watch Jessica's reflections on how coming from a multi-racial background helped her to adapt to the environment abroad.
    12 answers – Racism – Gender – While Abroad
  8. This student encourages students from diverse backgrounds to examine their own belief system through study abroad.

    16 answers – For African Americans – For Asian/ Pacific Americans – For Hispanic/ Latin@ – Personal – For Native Americans
CEA Global Education
GlobaLinks Learning Abroad in Australia