By: Sydney Engelhardt, Staff Writer & Bhavisha Dave, Contributing Writer
A panel of students described studying abroad as a minority Wednesday, during a forum in the Center for Student Diversity office aimed at encouraging students to go abroad.
The panel included recent TU graduate Randi Williams, who studied in Italy, Indonesia and Australia, seniors Gabriel Perez and Maia Williams, who traveled to Spain and Ghana, respectively, and second year clinical psychology student Yvette Bean.
Bean studied in Brazil and South Africa during her undergraduate years and Ghana during her graduate studies.
The panelists talked about a wide-range of subjects including finding funding for their trips, overcoming culture shock and language barriers, and how they prepared for their programs.
“The biggest obstacle was living in a country that you don’t know the language,” Perez said.
The speakers also shared some tricks that students can use in order to prepare for studying abroad.
“Watching travel shows on the travel channel can help prepare you for the trip,” Williams said.
CSD graduate assistant Ryan Padgett led the discussion. He said he “wanted to have an event where a lot of minority students could come together and talk and ask questions” about all aspects of studying abroad.
“The goal was to encourage students from all cultural backgrounds to consider and hopefully go ahead and take the study abroad experience,” Senior Director of Student Retention and Development Joel Bolling said.
This event was mainly advertised through social media, especially through the Center for Student Diversity’s Facebook page, according to Padgett. While the forum highlighted minority students abroad, he said that organizers wanted the rest of the student body to also feel included.
Despite some travel struggles, most of the speakers talked about all that they learned abroad and how valuable the experience was.
“Remember to be in the moment and enjoy the experience,” Bean said.
Students can find more information about studying abroad in the Study Abroad Office in the Psychology Building, Room 408.