Diversity Abroad connects students and recent graduates to exclusive articles, stories and guides that prepares them for international programs and success after.
I spontaneously decided that I wanted to study abroad in the fall semester of my senior year. I was working as a freshman seminar peer mentor/teaching assistant at my university, which was managed by the Director of Study Abroad. One day, I started talking to her about how I wish that I had taken advantage of the various study abroad programs earlier on in my undergrad year because it was too late. She informed me that if I still wanted to study abroad, we could make it happen. From there, it was all about finding the right country, program, and scholarships to fund my trip. As luck would have it, she gave me an ISA-ELAP booklet so that I could look for program and the first page that I opened up to was a film and media program in Mumbai, India. I knew from that moment that India was my destination. I had already been extremely interested in Indian culture; I had worked at an Indian Cuisine restaurant in the summer and was taking the Bollywood: Popular Hindi Cinema class offered at my university at the time as well.
I was a student at all 5 of the Alamo Colleges from 2010 through 2015. I was fortunate enough to attend many conferences throughout the country and earned many scholarships and awards. I had heard of studying abroad but hadn’t thought much about it until a unique opportunity was presented to me in January of 2013. At the time, my Alamo Colleges Student Leadership Institute instructor, Mrs. Veronica Rosas-Tatum, volunteered me for an international business competition that would change my educational experience!I was tasked in January of 2013 to be a part of the first Alamo Community Colleges team to compete in the Free Trade Alliance Education Foundation International Business Plan Program. This competition would encompass 18 teams representing 23 countries in the Undergraduate category. Our team consisted of 5 members from 4 schools and represented 3 different countries.My role was to be the CEO of the Global Leaders Initiative which is the company we created to provide leadership training to 34 partner schools all over the globe. This project was an 11-week process of gathering information, writing both a 1 page and a 12-page proposal and a 5-minute oral presentation. In preparation for the presentation, I had to coordinate with our mentor in Dallas, TX, our team members who were spread all over San Antonio, TX, and ensure we stayed on task weekly. Upon completion of the project, we competed amongst 18 teams in the Undergraduate category. We earned a 3rd place ranking. This was historic in nature because not only were we the first Alamo Community Colleges team, we were also the only Community College team in the nation to compete. After completing the competition, Ms. Kahala Crayton, and Mrs. Veronica Rosas-Tatum, faculty members of the Alamo Colleges Student Leadership Institute, were impressed to the point that they decided to bring our idea to life. They adopted our overall concept and designed it to be launched as a study abroad program that would encompass the cultural aspects as they relate to learning leadership theory in a/any particular country. After two years of work in defining and refining the concept/project, it became the "Alamo Way in Asia with Student Leadership Institute Partners in Language & Leadership" study abroad program. The program began on May 18, 2015, with a 4-week study at various locations within China and a one-week study in Taiwan, ending on June 25, 2015. The study aboard program was never a goal of mine. However, being goal oriented is what helped me and my team complete the original project that birthed the study abroad program that I participated in. This was a unique opportunity because not only did I study a different culture in its originating country, I also got the opportunity to see the legacy of what I inspired my instructor to work so hard to create.
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