Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

Throughout this course, I have learned a lot about myself and the study abroad process. Granted, this transition into college has taught me a lot about myself in general, but this is especially true with UNIV-291. I learned that I would like to pursue a career that enables me to travel, rather than to stay put in one country. I also learned the steps in applying to study abroad, where I would like to go, and formulated a concrete plan on how to get where I want to go. I am now confident in going forward with studying abroad and how to go about doing so properly.

After weighing my options, I have decided to follow my sister’s footsteps and to study abroad in Malta. I plan to study at the University of Malta through ISEP (International Student Exchange Program). Traveling to Malta during either the Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 semester  of my junior year would be the most ideal time to study abroad for me. ISEP requires that I have a 2.75 GPA and be of junior or senior academic standing, which is why I would go when I plan to.

Fortunately, the University of Malta offers courses that would contribute towards my degree—that being a Bachelor’s in Social Work. Before taking this course, I assumed that when I would pursue a career in the social work field that I would stay put in the United States. However, now I realize that I could go anywhere in the world as a social worker. In fact, traveling and learning about different cultures and backgrounds would enhance my skills set.

Most of my financial concerns would be taken care of by electing to do the ISEP-Exchange program, versus the ISEP-Direct program. In class, we discussed the main differences between these programs; these being that the ISEP-Exchange program exchanges two students from two countries to essentially switch places for a semester or two. This means that the students would pay regular tuition and fees from their home university, rather than of their host university. Whereas, with ISEP-Direct, the program’s cost is dependent on the host university’s (in my case, the University of Malta) tuition and fees. By doing ISEP-Exchange, everything—with the exception of any spending money—will be the same cost as if I were studying back home, here in Richmond. This is because, with ISEP-Exchange, I would be exchanging places with a student of the University of Malta, rather than directly going to Malta, without a student taking my place here at VCU. Currently, I am working three part-time jobs when I am not in class or studying. All of the money I am earning goes towards my savings, with the exception of fifty dollars every week that I budget towards groceries and other weekly food expenditures. This money in my savings is what I plan to use as my spending money during my study abroad trip, so by the time I do go abroad, I will have a few thousand dollars saved up. I also intend to do fundraising over the next two summers, apply for scholarships, and ask my extended family members if they would be gracious enough to support my studies abroad.

My goals for my time abroad include those of academic, professional, and personal growth. Regarding my academics, I hope to maintain a good GPA during my semester abroad. I also intend to become fluent in Maltese, despite the fact that it is not entirely necessary, since the courses I take in Malta will be taught in English. Professionally, I hope to gain solid connections with individuals in my career field from all across the globe. I would also like to learn about how social work field is handled in their home countries. Finally, on the personal level, I hope to meet great people and soak up the culture—yes, I realize how cliche that is, but it is the truth. After my sister arrived home from her experience in Malta, she could not stop raving about how great the people she met were. She even traveled to meet up with them in London over this past Halloween, and is planning to make another trip over her winter break, as well. It is very safe to say that these once strangers from across the globe are now some of her best friends. These are the kinds of personal ties I hope to make when I go abroad myself.

Thanks to our guest speaker that came to one of our class sessions, I have gained an interest in interning abroad, as well. Now, in addition to my proposed semester abroad to Malta, I would also like to research more on opportunities for international internships. I would like to pursue an internship opportunity somewhere in Europe, hopefully during the summer of 2019. By this point, I would have already gained experience studying abroad, which would aid in making my transition from the United States to overseas a lot more easy and smooth the second time around. This scenario of an internship abroad would be most ideal for me.

Overall, this “Maximizing Your Study Abroad” course has brought a great deal of clarity and understanding to me about the entire study abroad process. I now know with certainty that I want to study abroad at the University of Malta to continue my studies in social work. I also learned a lot about different opportunities there are out there, aside from the typical study abroad experience. Opportunities like interning abroad or short-term study abroad experiences that I could do over school breaks. A big point of clarity that came with this course was how to go about applying to study abroad and the financial obstacles I thought I might encounter. In reality, the whole process is actually very simple and the biggest “obstacle” one could have is deciding where to go. All in all, I am extremely thankful that I chose to take this class and am more excited now than ever to travel.

Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

Throughout the course of “UNIV291: Maximizing Your Study Abroad” I have learned many valuable lessons. Since day one, the emphasis on how study abroad will help benefit your education and career has been on the forefront. My plan for study abroad is to go to a place that has an excellent program in my field. I know that it is important for a program to hold some significance in any given field to be more impactful when employers are looking for employees. My favorite topic of discussion we had this whole class was more recently, about the TEDtalk on the importance of not falling into single stories. I think this really opened my eyes to how many people I stereotype subconsciously and I want to change that. I want to be able to go abroad and meet everyone with an open mind. That is something I plan to work on before and after I go abroad. There is nothing more important that experiencing a culture first hand without any predeveloped notions of how it works. I hope that by starting just a little out of my comfort zone with my study abroad experience in college, it will lead me to more and more places outside of my comfort zone and I know I will go into them with an open mind.

I have always intended to go a semester abroad and this class just helped cement that for me. I think spending four months in a foreign country will do great things for me, not only as a student but a growing, independent adult. Truthfully, I just think a break or summer program is just too short for me to accomplish everything I want to do. I really want to experience independence in a foreign country, and most break and summer programs are a little too structured for me to be able to explore on my own. The program I have chosen is an ISEP exchange (or direct) program at Vesalius College in Brussels, Belgium. I have chosen this program because it is a great school for Mass Communications and it’s a central city in Europe. Of course, school comes first, but I definitely wanted to be able to have the opportunity to do a little exploring outside of my host country and while researching Belgium, it just sounded perfect. Belgium is a very friendly, hospitable country that welcomes visitors with open arms. Brussels is also the most centrally located capital city in Western Europe. The classes are taught in English, so I know that will be beneficial.

I have already talked to my major advisor about when and where I should go abroad. The one thing I look forward to most about this trip abroad is I have it worked out with the rest of my degree to the point where I can take whatever 12 credits I want. As of right now, I want to focus on website development and more graphic elements than what is included in my major’s structure. Essentially, I could go to any school I wanted to and not have to worry about filling any major requirements. This freedom makes me ready to go and study whatever classes interest me at the time.

Throughout this class, I have also played with the idea of going abroad more than once. I never thought it was possible, but after this class I have realized that financially, it is plausible. If I were to go on a second program, I would go on the faculty-led program in Perugia, Italy. As someone who is looking into an Italian Studies minor and with prominent Italian ancestry, I have always wanted to visit the country. For this, I chose a more structured program because I think, in this case, the history is very important to me.

My biggest goal while studying abroad is to come home a more open-minded, professional, independent person. I want to come back changed for the better. People have always stressed to me how never going abroad while they were young was a regret, and I don’t want to repeat my family member’s mistake. I want to take advantage of every opportunity I am given. VCU has such an amazing program for studying abroad, I honestly feel bad for the people who don’t take advantage of it. I want to learn scholastically and be able to grow as a person. I want to be able to look back on this experience in ten years and know that I would not be the same person without it. I have a lot of high hopes for this experience, but I know even if a few things don’t go to plan, it will be worthwhile.

Professionally, I hope to be able to network across the world and have connections with people and places that are invaluable. I want this experience to set me apart from other applicants and I want people to know that I don’t back down from a challenge. There is no doubt that studying abroad is a huge plus on a job application, but I hope they can see where I went, when I went, and why I went and understand that I chose Vesalius for a reason. I plan to go in spring of my junior year because I feel like at that point, I will have fully adjusted to college life, had a few experiences I can learn from, and be prepared for a new, totally different experience.

Another reason I chose a semester abroad through ISEP is so I can use my academic scholarships from VCU and other organizations. My main plan for funding is scholarships. I also have been saving since my junior year of high school, so hopefully between the two, I will be able to make it happen.

All in all, I am beyond excited to begin planning my study abroad. I still have a few years, but I am thankful that this class made me start thinking about it now. This way, I will be able to take advantage of more opportunities that arise between now and then.

Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

Coming into this class in the beginning of the semester I came in having no expectations. I just thought that we will just learn about how to and why to study abroad. Coming to VCU as a Freshman, my three main goals were to get out of my comfort zone, to not procrastinate, and to always put all of my effort in everything I do. Those are the main reasons why I took Maximizing Your Study Abroad. Since I was little I have been a bit introvert, but after coming to America, even though I had no choice but to face my discomforts it got me out of my comfort zone and got me to see that it was okay. I interacted and made friends with my American friends. Even though it was a bit hard on me back then since I was just in the fifth grade, it showed me what I am capable of. By studying abroad, I feel like I will not only get that feeling again but travel the world and meet great people.

In Maximizing Your Study Abroad this semester, I believe our main focus was to find the right program for ourselves based on what we are majoring in, how to manage our costs, and avoid any problems as a tourist. We were expected to post a weekly blog over the stuff we learned to prove that we learned it and that personally helped me do the research and get more informed about what it is really like to study abroad. Besides from the blog we were expected to post, we had a final interview project that we had to do.

We started off the project by finding someone that individually matched with our majors or the work field that we want to be in. After we were expected to email them by introducing ourselves and explaining the project to them. When we were finally done with the interview we were expected to send them a thank you email and put all of the information that we gathered and put it in a presentation to post on our Ram Pages Maximizing your Study Abroad blog page. By going through all of the in class lessons, panels, and research we had to do it did help me develop my knowledge about studying abroad.

In this class we were all fortunate enough to be exposed to all of the sources we could use and people we could approach. Through the semester we got multiple panels of VCU students who have studied abroad, faculty workers from the Globe building, and etc… Also the readings we would do would always go with whatever we will be learning during the following class so we have backup information. From all of the things we covered the two that helped me get a perspective of my academic, professional, and personal development were when we covered the myths about studying abroad and when Cydni Gordon spoke to us during our last class. Coming from a household with a single mother I always want to make sure I handle everything financially so I do not only bother my mother financially, but also so I do not have loans and payments to worry about post college as an undergraduate. The two did not only give the perspective of financially struggling, but also gave a perspective on how to resolve it (through scholarships, Fundme™, and by choosing the most realistically affordable program for me).

Currently I plan to study abroad during one of the semesters of my junior year, because I want to be able to have all of my financials covered and trip planned out well. Also I want to find the right one for me since as of now I am not fully sure on where I want to study. To incorporate an educational experience abroad into your degree plan, I will make sure that I am not only focusing on my academics but also activities and touristy things so I can actually enjoy my trip. As of now I plan to study abroad through ISEP since the cost will be relatively similar since it is a program part of VCU, but I do not know where exactly to study. As I do study abroad though I plan to look for internship or employments somewhat relating to my major.

Since I came from another continent not too long ago, even though I have lived in the United States for years, I understand how it is to get culturally shocked, but it was by far one of the best experiences of my life. That is the other reason why I want to study abroad; To learn more about a country and myself as I build my networking, hirable, leadership, and coping skills. The first goal I have during my time abroad is to be safe and responsible while having fun. Secondly, to take advantage of all of my surroundings depending on where I am. Lastly, I want as I mentioned before to get out of my comfort zone.

This class in general has been truly informative and has gotten me to actually look in depth of the things that I actually want when it comes down to studying abroad. It has improved the way I see stereotypical thoughts and how to handle them positively. This class overall has made me come to a decision that I will be most likely to study abroad during my college carrier here at VCU.

Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

Studying abroad was something I had always thought of when I was younger. However, before coming to VCU and registering for my classes, I never really thought further into the idea. While registering, this class was pointed out to me, and I figured it would be a great way to introduce myself to such a possibility. I was slightly hesitant as to exactly how much could be talked for a whole 13 weeks, however, after attending the classes this semester, I have come to realize that there is a lot more than meets the eye when dealing with studying abroad. Now I can say I feel confident in planning a way to execute this dream of mine and having a successful trip.

I never realized how much of an advantage studying abroad can have for students in the grand scheme of things. I suppose I always sort of figured it was a fun thing that students did while in school to add a little diversity. However, I now see that it can really help a student grow in many different aspects of their life. It opens people up to new cultures and ideas, and gives people a better understanding of diversity and the world as a whole. After talking with other students that have studied abroad, you can see just how much of an influence it has on them and the way they do things now. It was interesting to see how different things are across the world and how people react to them. I know a lot of the times, traveling to new and different places can be very intimidating, though this class helped to look past those things that make us uncomfortable and to embrace the differences. By talking about things like intercultural development and doing things like the IDI test, it really helped open my mind to different things. Coming into this class, I think I definitely considered myself very culturally developed due to me diverse background, however, I have come to realize that there is always room for growth in this area and there is still so much to learn about other cultures. By studying in another country, you have the opportunity to be exposed to so many new things. I think this helps in the long run, because being more culturally developed and understanding is good in any career field and can really help personal development. Also, with the talks about safety and health abroad, it helped encourage and educate me about the things I need to know before traveling. I have done a lot of traveling with my family, however, I have always been watched over by my parents and kept in line on making sure I am doing nothing wrong. However, when I study abroad, it will most likely be my first time traveling internationally without the support of my parents. I found this a little intimidating, though I feel like now I have educated myself enough about what to do if I ever find myself in any sort of situation, and I can apply that throughout any sort of traveling done in the future.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this class was the time we spent on developing where, when, and how we want to study abroad. Big concerns of mine were if I even had time in my schedule to study abroad and if it would be too expensive. However, it made me happy to learn about how I can find specific programs that match my needs. As of right now, I am looking into semester long programs. I found a program from API in Budapest, Hungary at Cornivus University of Budapest that I really liked. I wanted to be slightly more “exotic” with my study abroad destination because I want to expose myself to something completely new. However, if that doesn’t work out, I would certainly consider places in Italy, Spain, South America, or Africa. These are places I could really see myself at, that I know have some good programs that meet my major requirements. Since I am on the pre-med track with a psychology major, I need to make sure I find the right program that won’t be wasting my time. When I talked to my adviser about good times to study abroad, she said that since I am a psychology major, the sooner the better. Therefore, I am looking to hopefully study abroad during spring semester of next year, my sophomore year. While abroad, I will hopefully be taking courses in psychology and in the sciences. However, I also hope to participate in things like interning and research opportunities offered. Through doing this, I would add some diversity to my transcript and I believe hold an extra edge over someone that hasn’t studied abroad. Not only will it most likely be an incredible experience, but also something that adds to my resume in the future.

As I said before, funding was a big concern of mine before I took this course. However, I have now discovered just how affordable something like this can be. Not only is there the possible benefit of cheaper tuition abroad, there are also almost countless numbers of scholarship opportunities. Before studying abroad, I will definitely be taking advantage of the various scholarships. I would plan on applying for scholarships specific to the program I choose, along with things like the Presidential International Education Award, and the Airfare Voucher Award.

During my study abroad experience, I hope to learn a lot about new cultures and also myself, and who I want to be. I have come to realize that life is too short to stay in one place, doing one thing. I hope I take the insight I learn while abroad and apply it to everything I do. I realize now that it is not just about traveling and seeing new things, but rather opening oneself up to new cultures and different traditions. I hope I come back with the same enthusiasm as the others that have participated in studying abroad and carry the experience with me throughout my life.

Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

What I have learned in my study abroad class over the course of this semester was extremely significant and very helpful, and they will benefit me in the future when I do decide to study abroad. In this class I have learned about the different programs, funding, and resources I can use to help me with my goal of studying abroad in the near future. Some of the programs that were shown to us in class was the International Student Exchange Program, the Partnership Exchanges Program, the Departmental Exchanges Program, the VCU Faculty-Led Program, and the Affiliate and Alternative Programs. The International Student Exchange Program and the Affiliate and Alternative Programs were the only ones that appealed to me. The benefits from these two programs are what made them my top two choices.

The International Student Exchange Program offers two types of programs. The first one is the ISEP Exchange Program, its program fee is based on VCU’s tuition and fees, and room and board for in-state students. I see the first program as beneficial, because I would pay the same tuition as if I were still studying at VCU. For the second program offered, ISEP-Direct, its fees are based on the host university’s fees and includes room and board as well. Between these two options when I study abroad I will choose the ISEP Exchange program. This program seems to be better financially, because I will be paying the same tuition I would be as if I were studying at VCU. The Affiliate and Alternative Programs offer a huge variety of program choices to choose from. Some of the programs offered may include internships and scholarships. I find this beneficial for me as well because I can get hands on experience in my career field with internships. I can also get scholarships from certain programs to help fund my study abroad travels. Learning about all of the programs, and information about them, has better prepared me in which program I should choose when I decide to study abroad.

The funding options I have discovered from being in this class, have put my worries of not being able to afford the opportunity to study abroad to rest. Some funding options I have learned and will utilize are VCU scholarships, external scholarships, Federal Financial Aid and loans if I qualify for them, or Virginia Pre-Paid Tuition. To be able to study abroad I will apply to as many scholarships as I can, and for whatever loans and financial aid that I am eligible for. In class we also learned seen ways to study abroad cheap. The seven ways we learned to study abroad cheap was to browse through scholarships and financial aid options, find an affordable program, to pay attention to what is included in the program we choose, how to prepare before we go abroad, to travel smart by looking out for discounts on airfare, to live like a local and not spend money on expensive tourist attractions, and using our student discount for transportation, museums, hotels, books, and more. The seven tips given were super beneficial and by using these seven tips, I will be able to save money before going abroad, and while I am studying abroad.

When I go abroad for the first time I want to study for one semester in Germany with the API Program, which is a program under the Affiliate and Alternative Programs. I have yet to decide what University in Germany, because my major is Public Health, specifically Epidemiology, but there aren’t that many classes I can take at a University in Germany related to my major. Since I am so dead set on studying broad in Germany, I want to try my best to find classes I can take that will benefit me in the future. Some classes I will take to help me progress in getting my degree, and before I study abroad in Germany is the HADM 609. Managerial Epidemiology course and the HADM 629 International Health course. By taking these courses it will give me more knowledge and better insight of my future career.

I plan to study abroad in the spring or fall semesters of my junior and senior year. I’m not sure if this will be enough time for me to be able to travel to Germany, Argentina, Australia, and Japan, but I’ll try my best to do so. I do not want to travel abroad yet as a freshman because I want to save up enough money, and be able to apply for as many scholarships, federal financial aid, and loans as I can for my trip abroad. I also want to learn as much as I can about the other countries, and what other programs I would like to choose from that would best suit me. I also need time to mentally prepare myself to travel outside of the country as well. Since I have only traveled up and down the East Coast of the United States, going out of the country right now is a little overwhelming for me at the moment. Some of other countries I would love to have the opportunity to study abroad in is Australia, Japan, and Argentina. My only concern is that since I do want to study abroad either in the spring or fall semester of my junior and senior year, and I know won’t have time to travel to all of these countries. I hope that in time I will be able to figure this out and to be able to choose between the four countries I want to study in.

The goals I have for myself during my time abroad is to gain more independence, to learn more about myself, to fluently speak other languages, to learn more about the other culture’s religion, foods, and traditional values, to share knowledge of what I know with other cultures, and to learn something from them as well. I ultimately want to grow as a person, I always want to come back knowing more than what I left with. Traveling abroad now while I am young and inexperienced will give me room to explore myself, and to grow mentally. To have the opportunity to study abroad is unbelievable. With the help of this class and the information I have gained this semester, I will be able to apply everything I have learned in order to achieve my goal to study abroad.

Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

Applying to Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall of 2015, I knew I wanted to go here. I applied early and when I got in, my mom sent the deposit check to secure my spot as a freshman. I wanted to come here because I knew how diverse the school was and how much of an experience it would give me. VCU has a person for everyone here. You have every ethnicity, frats and sororities, clubs for everyone, and we all have a unique personality. I could not imagine going to any other college than VCU. We are immersed in the city, which gives us a real life experience, you see interesting things and people every day living their reality. After meeting and talking with students studying here from other countries, born in other countries and have a completely different background than me, I wanted to study abroad as a student. I have been abroad a couple times including a school trip in high school and a family trip to Paris. I have never been abroad though and earned credits for my schooling. Studying abroad could affect me in a lot of ways personally and academically. I grew up in a very small town, where everyone knew everyone and all your family. There were a total of six black kids at my school, one Indian and two Asians. As you can tell, we weren’t a diverse bunch. My school had 700 students total and my graduating class consisted of 180. Coming to a big school and studying abroad has helped me realize there’s more in this world than my small town where I come from. You meet new people here everyday and I can only imagine the people you will meet abroad. It would help me grow as an individual and experience the world around me. Academically, studying abroad for my health science major would set me apart from other students applying to graduate school here for Occupational Therapy. My dream is to work at the VCU Children’s Hospital here in Richmond, and this would make me a competitive contender for a future internship or job. Professionally, studying abroad could enhance my interpersonal skills and better prepare me to communicate and form relationships between clients while being in Occupational Therapy as a career since I will be working with individuals every day of different ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds, and morals.

One of the struggles I have while wanting to study abroad as a student here during my time at VCU, my major is difficult to find a program to fit with my needed classes and credits. I found the perfect program for me through the interview project we were given to complete during our time in this class. We were assigned to interview a professional in our area of career interest and make a power point about our interview. I interviewed Dr. Stacey Reynolds who is a professor and researcher here as an Occupational Therapist in the graduate school at VCU. While interviewing her, she informed me of a program they have for students in the graduate school at VCU for them to study abroad as Occupational Therapists. Dr. Reynolds takes them to Ghana in Africa to help with the communities and families. They research before they go to decide what exactly they will do like action plans, then go to carry those action plans out. I love helping people and I wanted to find a study abroad course that could give me both an education and I could help people. After hearing the graduate program here has that, I would most definitely do this during my time in graduate school here. I have considered studying abroad during my time here as an undergraduate, and if I were to I would study abroad during a summer either after my sophomore or junior year. I would plan to take health science courses abroad. I have been abroad to France and Italy, so I would want to go somewhere completely new in Europe. I have always wanted to go to Greece so that would be my first choice of where I would want to go. I also would want some freedom, but I would also want to be with a specific group and have a teacher from VCU with us. Based off of that, it really confirms how the Occupational Therapy graduate student trip to Ghana would be a really perfect fit for me and for my major. Some of the faculty led direct enroll programs for studying abroad through VCU also seem like a good fit based off my interest in having a faculty member, and where I would want to go. It would have to be beneficial to my major and put me ahead of my studies in the health sciences.

While you are a student in college, you are constantly told to look ahead and are asked the golden question, “What do you want to do with your degree?’. When I graduate in may of 2020, I will (hopefully) have my undergraduate degree in health sciences with a minor in psychology. My ultimate plan with my degree is to apply to VCU’s graduate program for Occupational Therapy, and earn my doctorate in the field. My dream will be to live in a condo in the middle of Richmond, and work as a practicing Occupational Therapist at the children’s hospital at the medical campus here at VCU. Studying abroad could help me achieve these dreams I have because of how my experience abroad will set me apart from other students applying to do the same thing I want to do. My parents are very supportive of me studying abroad and are willing to pay for wherever I go. When I do apply for a program, I will also apply for an airfare voucher and other scholarships to fund my program abroad. My overall goals for studying abroad is to form relationships, help people, give me valuable experience and give me the skills to make me a more well rounded occupational therapist for my future clients. This class has really helped me realize what programs are best for me. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to another freshman or any VCU student interested in studying abroad!

Action Plan and Final Reflection Paper

Throughout the semester I really enjoyed this class because we learned so much about studying abroad. Basically in class we got to learn about different countries and cultures. With learning about all of this, it was very interesting to me. Over the year I got to learn about more places to go to and where would I want to go. Would I want to go somewhere that needs help or somewhere else? The answer I found to this is somewhere that could use some help. I learned that I could do clinics or intern abroad which would be good for my field. It could start me off in the field of physical therapy before even becoming a physical therapist. At first I was hesitant to where I would want to travel but now I know I want to study abroad in either Africa or South America.

With ISEP I could travel to Ghana to the University of Ghana. By becoming interested in this program I looked up some more information about the program and Ghana. I learned about the vaccines to get, safety precautions, food, and where the closest hospital was to the university. Not only did I learn the most important information but I also looked up the nature scenery of Ghana. With this information it gives me a background check to the whole picture of going to Ghana. At the University of Ghana, I could study health sciences for an undergraduate. If I get to study abroad I would like to go my junior year just so I can get settled down sophomore year then get to travel junior. Not only do I want to study abroad but something is making me feel like I need to. I know that sometime in a career in the medical field you will run into culture barriers. With the help of studying abroad, this could help overcome the barrier of culture. I want all of my patients to feel comfortable with me even if they are of different culture. I know that if I studied abroad in Ghana I would like to be able to socialize with people from America too. Especially going to a hospital in a different country, it would be nice to have a doctor that you can connect with that can speak English. That is how I want my patients to feel with me. If they are from a different country and want to feel the company of someone they can connect with.

I think Ghana would be a great place to go to study abroad in. It’s not an unsafe area but it’s defiantly different from America. Over there you have to get certain vaccines because their is different diseases you can catch there. Some places it is hard to get water at a restaurant and here you can get water almost everywhere for free. Even though Ghana is a developing country, it is not as developed as the United States. That is one reason why I would like to study abroad there to see somewhere not fully developed. The reason I want to see somewhere less developed is to be able to actual help out around the country. Then I can be able to talk about not just being able to study abroad but being able to help out while studying abroad. From this class it helped me learn that I want to be able to volunteer abroad for free while interning. Also I could consider doing volunteering abroad instead.

By looking up interning abroad with Virginia Commonwealth University. I found something that caught my eye it is called Child Family Health International (CFHI). Child Family Health International is the opportunity to intern abroad with Virginia Commonwealth University. This lets students intern abroad and get introduced to the healthcare systems. It is opening the door to help students respond to cultural differences to patients. The area of study is health care which physical therapy falls under. This programs lets students shadow women and men to observe the way a clinic works. This is an introduction for people wanting to go into the healthcare field. It serves as a base for people to get their foot in the door.

To start with my funding I plan to save up this summer and next to help pay for it. Also their is scholarships to apply for online and on the VCU webpage. To start off you need to pay for a flight but looking on VCU’s webpage I found a scholarship called Airfare Voucher Award. This scholarship program helps students pay for the voucher and their traveling. The requirements are a 2.0 GPA, and participate in a approved study abroad program. The process to apply is not bad either it only requires students to answer general questions about yourself, program information, essay questions and then finance question. After applying for that scholarship there is still more to apply for because that is only paying for the voucher or travel.

My goal for studying abroad is to learn from it and grow as a person. By traveling you learn more about yourself and learn more about the world. I want to be able to take my experiences and use it in the real world of working. I want to be able to influence others to travel and traveling to help others around the world. Growing as a person I mean to come back more adventurous and helping. Now I am a little shy so I hope to break out of that bubble and not be scared to try new things. I think traveling abroad would be one of the best ways for me to expand my horizons and grow. By traveling by yourself you have to learn how to get around. By learning how to get around you have to communicate with all types of people to find out where you are. With meeting all these types of people it can help me open up to more people around the world. Finally this can help me communicate as a physical therapist with my patients.

 

Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

Over the course of this semester I have learned a lot about study abroad and myself. This class furthered my passion for travel. Traveling is one of my biggest passions, so it was great taking this class because it let me learn about the Globe department of VCU so I could get involved as well as just furthering my determination and desire to study abroad and travel as much as I can in my lifetime. I have also learned the values of study abroad for my academic, professional, as well as personal development. Obviously, I will be learning in a different country, but the value for my academic development is that I will be able see how different countries education systems differ and experience schools and university in a different country, it would be a good challenge for myself as a student to overcome and learn from. I would also possible get to take unique classes that are only available to that university that I wouldn’t be able take at VCU, depending where I go and what I study, so that could be an academic opportunity that I might come into contacted with. As for professional development, there can be a lot of great opportunities. By traveling around and meeting other people I have the opportunity of connecting with everyone around the world. This will give me connections to my career in the future either with universities, research labs, businesses, professors, other students etc. This also gives me the chance to further my decision on how I want to incorporate traveling into my career. I want to be a nurse, so by traveling and studying abroad it will let me see healthcare systems in other places. It will also let me figure out what kind of nurse I want to be, and whether I might want to work as a travel nurse or possibly work in developing countries as a volunteer nurse, or the Peace Corps. As for my personal development, studying abroad will let me grow as a person in many ways. Just as the we watched the video “The Single Story”, traveling will let me explain my “single story” and tell me real story, as will I get to learn about single stories of others and get to know them as a person rather than their stereotypes. This will allow me to become even more cultural than I am so far and be more appreciative of the world, different cultures, and diversity. In addition, studying abroad will give me the chance to become more independent and learn about my strengths and weaknesses, and learn about myself more as a person. I have traveled before by myself, and during that time, I learned so much. I learned how much I appreciated time to myself, as well as appreciating those around me. Traveling also makes me appreciate experiences and people more, and not be so materialistic like our world sometimes is. As for when I travel abroad, I think for me, I am going to travel in the summer. As a nursing major, it is hard and complicated to travel during the program for a semester, because I have a such tight schedule as a nursing major. I talked further with my advisor and she says the best time to study abroad is, indeed, the summer. I would like to study abroad maybe sophomore or junior year of college if I can. I am definitely considering doing ISEP as my program to study abroad with, I trust their company a lot after further research and talking to other people, and I believe that ISEP has what I am looking for in a travel abroad company. For locations, I am considering either Africa – Ghana or Botswana, a Northern Scandinavian country, or possibly Australia. Each location offers multiple perks. For Northern Europe, it is very safe, they have my major offered there, and it is BEAUTIFUL there. As for Australia, it is mainly the same thing as Northern Europe. The cons of both of them is they are both pretty expensive countries. As for Ghana or Botswana, I think it would be really cool to go there. They have my major as well as some unique classes for nursing majors such as HIV and AIDS prevention classes, and classes that I wouldn’t get to take anywhere else. Africa is also beautiful and I want to go back. In addition, I am interested in volunteering as a nurse in Africa sometime in my life, so it would be really cool and would give me a sense of my volunteer opportunities in Africa if I studied abroad there. However, I don’t think my parents are too on board with it. But, they said this when I was thinking of doing a semester abroad, so I think they would be very on board with it if I did it for a shorter time in the summer, because I have traveled by myself in Morocco alone, so I think they would have faith in me that I could do it safely. While abroad, I would love to take some language classes in the whatever country I am in. I would also love to take a class about global healthcare or a class about healthcare specifically about that country that I am in or something along those lines. I plan to get funding from myself (working), scholarships, and manual fundraising if I have the time. I would do this by sending out emails to close families and friends asking for funds if I wanted to do some manual fundraising. I definitely will fund my study abroad with my own money, grants, and scholarships. I would just have to see how much more money I would need if I needed to do some old fashion fundraising. Lastly, my goals for study abroad are fairly simple. I want to take some unique classes related to that country, experience a new culture, and meet new people. I also I want to grow even more as a person, and become more aware of myself and the world in order to become the best person, and future nurse as I can.

Action Plan and Final Reflections Paper

“Maximizing Your Study Abroad” was such an amazing course to take during my first semester at Virginia Commonwealth University. Not only was professor Tignor an excellent resource in learning about VCU’s study abroad options, but she also provided an excellent course curriculum that allowed me to dive into the study abroad opportunities at VCU as a first semester freshman. Having the knowledge that I now have of VCU’s study abroad opportunities is something that I think will prove incredibly useful to me in the coming years when I will begin looking into study abroad options for myself. “Maximizing Your Study Abroad” went over all the bases necessary in order to pursue an educational experience outside of  the United States. In class we discussed how to figure out the logistics of a trip abroad, as well as how to make the trip happen financially. The amount of options that VCU gives students when it comes to study abroad locations is absolutely incredible. It seemed as though there was a study abroad option in every country on earth. VCU’s financial aid scholarships and packages also made it seem incredibly easy to access funds in order to pay for a trip abroad.

At the beginning of the course we were asked to pick a country that we would potentially be interested in studying abroad at. During my years in middle school and high school I took Latin, which gave me a large interest in Italy. I’ve always heard about amazing study abroad opportunities offered in Italy so I decided to choose Italy as my “host country” to do study abroad research on over the course of the semester. When doing my research, I ran across a program in Italy called the “GEO-Summer: Direct-Enroll at Sant’Anna Institute.” This program seemed incredibly interesting to me because not only is it located in Italy, but its classes are taught in English so there would be no language barrier, it holds various group trips that travel all around Italy, and it also has great media courses to learn about the arts, which is a large interest of mine. When we were beginning to look into study abroad options, a class was held that hosted some past study abroad students, who had returned from various trips around the world. This class was easily my favorite of the entire semester. It was so incredibly interesting to listen to peoples stories about their study abroad experiences. They made VCU’s study abroad opportunities sound so incredibly rewarding and wonderful and truly inspired me to continue diving into VCU amazing study abroad program. One student talked about his trip to Germany. He said that before the trip he hardly knew any German and just thought Germany would be an interesting place to go. After going to Germany he absolutely loved it, and saw so many amazing things. He traveled all over Europe, made some incredibly friends, and had pictures to show all of the memories from his study abroad experience. His trip truly inspired me to continue looking into study abroad options for possibly the summer between my sophomore and junior year or during a semester of my junior year.

One amazing thing about the “Maximizing Your Study Abroad” course is that at the end of the course, if you get a C or higher, you are rewarded with a 500 dollar grant from VCU towards a study abroad program of your choice. I feel like this reward money for taking the course is just further incentive to get money from VCU’s scholarship programs for studying abroad. Another activity that we did in class was doing a mock scholarship essay asking for money towards a study abroad program of our choice. This activity definitely allowed us to learn how to correctly write a scholarship essay, which is a tool I think will be very useful in the future. In terms of my future, I want to pursue a career in the music business. In a career in business I know how important it is to make connections with fellow business people around the world. I think that studying abroad would be an excellent way for me to make connections with musicians, music companies, and music business people all over the globe. To find out more information about the international music business, I talked to Antonio Garcia, VCU’s jazz studies instructor, as well as freelance musician, composer, writer, editor, and arranger. Professor Garcia informed me of his international pursuits in music and told me about some amazing people he has met from performing  all over the globe. He says that the best way to become strong in your field of interest is to just “go out there and do it and be a part of the community.” I think that this mindset is an excellent one to have when thinking about studying abroad in your field of interest. Music especially is such a global community, its important to put yourself out there and get to know everyone and become involved. 

My main goals for the time I hope to spend abroad would just be to soak up whatever culture it is I am being exposed to. As a musician and songwriter, hoping to become involved in music business, I want worldly experiences to be able to talk about in my music and I also wanna make connections with other musicians and business people from around the globe. I think being exposed to a culture unfamiliar is an important experience to have as a human being. Not knowing what its like to live somewhere other than your home feels like a waste of time to me. In my eyes, we are all given one life on this earth to see everything we possibly can. We are so lucky to be offered amazing opportunities to travel through our colleges and universities and it is not something we should take for granted. “Maximizing Your Study Abroad” showed me so many amazing study abroad options that VCU has to offer, and showed me the exact ways to get there. For that I am truly grateful.   

Action Plan and Final Reflection Paper

In this Maximizing Study Abroad I have be exposed to every resource, opportunity, tip, and information on how to make my ambition of traveling the world and gaining an global education a very real option in the very near future. Like any other student coming into a university interested in studying abroad, I only arrived really only considering the best places to travel that would only be determined by how entertaining a trip would be. Just with one short semester I have learned exactly how much planning it takes to properly prepare for a studying abroad experience in another country.

From the beginning of the class almost all of what I thought I knew about studying abroad I quickly found was not the case. One of the many things that I have learned since taking this course are the stereotypes that are perceived by many students, especially for American students. Initially I thought that study abroad programs no matter the location were expensive, and that the only thing students did was explore and have fun. I quickly found out that this was not the case. It turns out that in many instances studying internationally can costs the same amount if not cheaper, depending on how developed a country may be, and what study abroad company is selected. I quickly realized that that study abroad also is not just a vacation, there are many challenges a student can face and many assignments that would present more than enough difficulty. These difficulties and adjustments can include things such as culture shock. There is no way to truly prepare for culture shock, the closest thing to getting ready for complete different customs is by doing good extensive research on the host country of a program. As mentioned in the class, when doing research, the proper way to find valuable information is by checking the websites url and using resources such as the Virginia Commonwealth University Campbell Library database. Thanks to these resources and tips I now know what to research

One major part that I worried about and greatly considered that has had effect on where I had given thought to travel was the cost of the expenses that are necessary to study abroad. There are many opportunities that I have learned that are eager to help fund students such as myself to attend programs in an international education, and with those resources I have a starting plan on how to make studying abroad affordable for myself. One thing that will help make my first program affordable would be the 500 dollar incentive for this class, assuming that I keep a passing grade in this course. Even though 500 dollars doesn’t seem like very much for a study abroad experience, but it can actually make a huge difference in the type of programs I am interested in. I am really interested in doing summer semesters, which are much less expensive than full year or winter/spring semesters overall. Other than the incentive earned from this Maximizing Study Abroad, I also plan to utilize the Virginia Commonwealth University Globe office and apply to all of the scholarships that I am eligible for. This office is a major resource that is available for all VCU students, yet there are very few that take advantage of it, and I certainly plan to use the resources there to make my ambitions to travel a bit affordable. A couple of funding opportunities that have already been referred to me through this course are the airline voucher and the Gilman Scholarship. The last source of funding that could potentially help pay for my plans for international education would be through resources that I already have. I currently have multiple educational scholarships funding my college education here at VCU. The only thing that I would have to do to keep that source of money would be keeping a GPA higher than 2.5, and the excess of my scholarships could be saved for study abroad opportunities if I choose.

The one other main object of this class was to formulate an idea of what program or where I would like to travel to. One program I am now seriously pondering on applying to is the VCU Direct Enrolled faculty led program to Greece, Athens this summer. This program is not one that I had on my radar before or during the class for to maximize my study abroad. It wasn’t until the end of this course that I began considering going to this program. This program is one that would give me an opportunity to earn 3 business degrees, as well as a required UNIV 211 credit which is worth3 credits to graduating. This program would not only keep me on track of graduating but would actually put me ahead with extra credits, and give myself some room to take classes at a comfortable rate in the years to come. Another place I am really interested in traveling to is to the country of South Africa through a program called CIS Abroad. With this program, I would have to get my trip accredited though the university and approved for to make it able for me to earn credits towards my degree. South Africa is a country in the continent of Africa and is filled with so much culture and languages, an area that I feel I would soak up so much culturally, as well as the educational perspective of things. I plan to participate in this opportunity during the summer of my Junior year, and enroll in classes that would earn more business credits to finish off my degree.

Hopefully when I graduate from the Virginia Commonwealth University I will be able to look back at my experience through my time here in those four years and be well satisfied with the things I learn and involve myself with. I want to be able to have a diverse perspective on any route I decide to take. I don’t know what the future holds, but one thing that I do believe is that I have the power to control what happens in the present. So I will plan and do everything in my power to study abroad, and enjoy every moment of the educational experiences that I am given the opportunity to have.