“My name is Ashton Robison; I’m a senior, Global Studies major. I enjoy travel, coffee, and frolicking at the greenbelt. I also like to set goals. It keeps me motivated. Last year, a goal of mine was to go abroad during the summer. I also am a college student with a limited expendable income and to be honest most of that goes to P. Terry’s. In honor of both realism and optimism, I applied for a Gilman Award, a study abroad scholarship administered by the U.S. Department of State. I decided I wanted to go to Tanzania, which is right below Kenya in East Africa. I got an email a few months later, and a mere 3 weeks before I was slated to leave, stating that I was an award recipient. I then scrambled to purchase a flight, get vaccinated, and inevitably put off packing until the day before I was supposed to leave.
Most people choose to study abroad in places like France, or Spain, or England, or really, anywhere in Western Europe. I too studied in France (in Angers, fall of 2010) and it was truly a wonderful experience. But there is something to be said about choosing a non-typical destination. While in Tanzania I studied human rights and capacity building, visited the African Union Court of Human Rights and the United Nation’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (both of which were right down the street from where I lived), went on a safari, and traveled to the island of Zanzibar. I lived in a house with students from the U.S., Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya, forming friendships that span across both continents and oceans.
There are a million stories to tell from my experiences abroad, but I will take this opportunity to encourage you to investigate every option you have, and to choose a destination and program that fits you. Regardless of where you choose to study abroad, there are unlimited opportunities to learn, travel, and thrive. All it takes is a little motivation and a lot of enthusiasm. So do it.”