Hear from Underrepresented Students in Study Abroad

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Ashley Houston
September 15, 2015

At IES Abroad, we are committed to the idea that all students should have the opportunity to participate in a study or internship program abroad. Our IDEA bloggers embody everything we aim for in making study abroad more accessible to students across the country.

In alignment with our Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad (IDEA), our IDEA bloggers are students who come from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds with respect to not only their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status, but also those with disabilities, students who are the first-generation in their family to attend college, varsity athletes, or those representing non-traditional majors.

IDEA bloggers dig into their experiences abroad from an identity standpoint, and reflect on different perspectives of the study abroad experience than those we might typically hear.

We’re thrilled to have three IDEA bloggers join us for the Fall 2015 semester. Here are a few snippets from their predeparture posts:

“As I pack for Freiburg, Germany, I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks I used to save money! I am a first-generation, low-income, Latina and I was at first so unsure where to start. I know a few other people who had gone abroad (classmates mostly), but sometimes hesitated to ask or to explain how poor I am. I was afraid I would not have enough money for all the things on the packing lists. So I have created [a list] as a reflection of the things I did for this trip. Hopefully, you, whether you are low-income, or just try trying to save money for your trip, will find these useful!"  –Packing on a Budget

“This nervous feeling arises once we exit a familiar culture and enter a foreign one to which we cannot easily adapt. However, by viewing mistakes positively, as potential opportunities for growth, they may begin to feel less daunting. Improving this ability to try new things can allow us to better make the most of our journeys abroad. While in Spain, I hope to lean into each of the mistakes that I make, embracing each of these challenges and their solutions.” –Leaning into Discomfort

“I am very well aware that I am traveling and soon will be living in a country where I do not speak even 1% of the language. I have come to terms with this however. I understand that it will be a little bit of a struggle, but I think I can do it! In fact I know I can do it because I will have to. My predisposition is to go in without any expectations (except some cultural differences I read about and the language barrier I will experience). I want to completely delve into the Tokyo lifestyle without shredded expectations.” –I’m Going to Japan (Pre-departure feels)

Follow their journeys this semester on our blogs page!


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Ashley Houston

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