IES Abroad Program: Sydney Direct Enrollment - University of Sydney, Spring 2015
U.S. College / University: Ithaca College
Major: Cinema & Photography
Current Profession: "I am the Ambassador Program Coordinator at IES Abroad. I work with recent study abroad returnees and help them share their experiences with peers on their campus through various outreach initiatives. I am also a graduate student at Loyola University - Chicago, pursuing an M.Ed in Higher Education Administration/Student Affairs."
What words would you use to describe your identity(ies)?
I am a cis-gendered male, who identifies within the LGBTQ+ community. I am also a first-generation, Filipino-American who was the first of my family to attend an American university, as well as study abroad.
When you studied abroad, did your identity(ies) influence your experience in significant and/or surprising ways? If so, how?
I think if anything, I was made more aware of my identity and was allowed to see myself in a different context. For once, in the classroom, I was surrounded by a room filled with individuals from diverse backgrounds - from all around the world. As someone who comes from a predominantly white institution and hometown, this meant so much to me: to see others, such as myself.
Has studying abroad impacted your educational and/or professional aspirations or path? If so, how?
Most definitely. My experience seeing the world through a different perspective/lens has encouraged me to work in the field of International Education. The experience of studying abroad is such a transformative experience, and I enjoy helping students process and reflect on their own stories as they return home.
What experiences or skills gained from studying abroad continue to influence your life now?
For one, I am resilient. When things don't go the way I had planned, I seek new opportunities to solve issues or challenges as they arise. I am also someone who is very open to ambiguity and "getting lost" in a sense. We can't always predict our future - it's important to accept things as they come, and be present in the moment. Study abroad instilled this important lesson within me, and it is something I will carry for the rest of my life.
Share one of your favorite memories from your time abroad.
One of my favorite memories abroad was spending the day with my friends at Fitzroy Island during our spring break. I did a hike by myself and got to see an amazing view of the entire island, and really reflected on how lucky I was to be abroad.
In one sentence, tell students who identify similarly why studying abroad is a good idea, particularly for them.
It will cause you to challenge what you've been previously taught and will teach you ways to become the best person you can be.