Program: UMD Exchange: University of Melbourne
Term: Spring 2015
Studying abroad overall made me a better, more confident person. Traveling on my own, providing for myself, and handling myself in a completely different country made me more comfortable with dealing with uncomfortable situations. I know now that I can handle myself anytime and anywhere, whether it's in school or whether it's in the distant future, long after my time here at the University of Maryland.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: As an American first, and an African-American second, it's important to study abroad because it helps you understand your personal identity and where you stand as a person in society. You should also not be afraid of your identities as you study abroad because overall, understanding them in new environments will give you a deeper understanding of what they truly mean. I never knew what it meant to be an American until I studied abroad and surrounded myself with people from completely different cultures. As a person of color, just seeing and interacting with other people of color in another country was a unique experience that I struggle to explain and I believe is something you have to experience to understand. For that, I'm always glad that I took the leap to study abroad.
The best experience I ever had studying abroad was during a road trip in Queensland, Australia, where I was able to see the Milky Way galaxy along with a completely different set of constellations that I wasn't familiar with. That was arguably the first jaw-dropping moment of my entire life and it is something that I will never forget. To this day, it has inspired me to see all that the world has to offer.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Make it your priority to find time in your life to explore other parts of the world and learn about other cultures. Studying abroad is one of the few times in your life when you're able to do this and students should take advantage of it.