“Angela, you are the first one in our family to own a passport. Did you know that?” When my mother told me this, she was holding my “virgin” U.S. certified passport in her hands. I suppose I knew this fact about my family, but I never thought hard about it. Probably because leaving the country never crossed my mind until a couple of months ago. It definitely took my best friends from Community Scholars, Janelle, Sandra, and Ari, to study abroad and getting over the fear of the unknown, to begin the application process.
Decision day for study abroad applications came and I never thought I would see myself jumping for joy when I got accepted at University of the Western Cape in South Africa. I literally could not stop looking at my acceptance letter. And of course I had to do the obligatory Facebook status announcing the great news. Why not share this with my network filled with family, fellow Hoyas, old friends, past co-workers, and the rising high schools seniors I had the honor of mentoring this past summer at Princeton University, through the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) Program?
The program is for rising high school seniors, who represent all racially diverse backgrounds and low-income communities from across the nation. I was a scholar in the summer institute, the main component of the program, three years prior. Given that the main goal of the program is to get students, like us, into the top schools of the nation, like Georgetown (YAS), I knew how important it was to let these scholars know about the opportunities one has once being accepted into one of these highly competitive institutions. These types of opportunities may not be known as possibilities in our respective communities. I have been fortunate enough to be a member of communities like, LEDA, the Georgetown University Community Scholars Program, and the Georgetown Scholarship Program, that give their participants the resources that they have historically been deprived of in America.
Now here I am, an African American woman, eight generations removed from American slavery, reminiscing on how far my family has come for me to get here in this moment.
Before embarking on this life-changing journey, let me leave you with two great reasons to study abroad:
- Inspiration: As a mentor for fellow Hoyas and LEDA Scholars, I have found that one of the best things you can do as a mentor is inspire others. So I am not only going abroad for myself. I am also going to inspire others, whether it is my wonderful mentees, my family, my friends or complete strangers who happen to stumble across my blog. I am also thinking about the future generations of my family and the stories I can share with them about my experiences in Cape Town to let them know about the possibilities. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, do it and inspire as you go!
- If it can be paid for, I mean… : Studying abroad can be out-of-this-world expensive. However, I am thankful for Georgetown University financial aid and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program for helping me completely fund my trip! If your study abroad costs can be covered (partially or fully), what are you waiting for?!