The content of each post is solely written by that contributor and only expresses the contributor's personal views. Each post does not represent the views of all the contributors or Women of Color Living Abroad as an organization. Each contributor is speaking from their own person experiences and/or perspective.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Eduation: The Passport to the World

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

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In 2009, I left America for South Korea, which was my first international travel experience. I was excited, but I never thought that my one year teaching contract would turn into a three year life changing experience. However, that is exactly what happened. Now, my life is changing in a new way. I have a new passport and I am traveling internationally in America through EDUCATION!
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller

When I came home in Feburary, I was certain that I would be returning to Korea to begin my fourth year living and working abroad, but due to a head-on collision I was unable to return. At first, it wasn’t such a big deal because I was at home with family recovering, but soon the nostalgia began to wear off—quickly!  I missed the life that had become very familiar to me. I no longer had my wonderful lifestyle in a foreign nation where I could country hop all over Southeast Asia. I was stuck in America where I had already seen EVERY state I ever desired to see. I was jobless and spending all the money I had saved, and not to mention I was starting to rebuild the debt that I had completely paid off due to medical bills and other miscellaneous expenses. Yet there was a bright light at the end of the tunnel—graduate school in one of the states I had never traveled to, Vermont.

After much contemplating on my future endeavor, I decided to enter graduate school. It’s only been two months and I am truly grateful for making this decision. In 2009, I was accepted into graduate school for a Master’s in Public Health, but after moving to Korea, I made a healthy decision to postpone that choice. As I reflect back, I think that was very wise on my behalf. However, now that I sitting in Vermont, an interesting story that should be told at a later date, I am appreciative that I am in graduate school at this very time and moment. I am even happier that I am pursuing a degree in International Education, an entirely different focus, which was influenced by my experiences working in Korea. 
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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

            Prior to Korea, I really never thought about living internationally on a permanent basis, or what it would be to have a career internationally. However, after living and working in Korea I wanted to make sure that  more minorities had the opportunity to travel abroad and begin to look at the world through a global lens. As Thomas Friedman would put it, “The World is Flat” and we should all have a level playing field when it comes to globalization (in context). Today, a job that many people only perceived as “local” may very well be “global”.  At one point a job like nursing was only thought of as a local position even though the career field has always been global, because nurses have been employed internationally through military and government opportunities. However,  I want minorities to stop thinking in terms of their local options and start thinking about traveling the world and having international careers and educational opportunities. Business isn't the only field that is transferable on a global level. Think of all the things that you do and/or have a need for where you currently are,then think about all the people who do or need those same things around the world. Can you say globalization?

“Ours is a world of 24-hour news cycles, global markets, and high-speed internet. We need to look no further than our morning paper to see that our future, and the future of our children, is inextricably linked to the complex challenges of the global community. And for our children to be  prepared to take their place in that world and rise to those challenges, they must first understand it.” Roderick Paige, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
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                It is my desire to help young people understand that they have options through education, and despite many obstacles, they need to start looking at the world as if it is flat. At this time only 4.7% African American students study abroad compared to 78% of Caucasian students. (Institute of International Education http://opendoors.iienetwork.org/) This is the focus of my education and what I am passionate about. I desire to change the numbers. I want the next generation of minorities to travel the world and have more educational options than I could have imagined. Studying abroad isn't for some people, it should be an optional for all, and we (minorities) must understand that opportunities are available, then take advantage of them.   
I am no longer getting my passport stamped as I travel from one country to the next (at least for the next nine months.) However, I just began my journey with an even bigger passport that can open more doors for myself and those that I am able to encourage and influence. I use to travel with my U.S. passport, but now I’m gaining an education that will give me authorization to travel, live and work without boarders. 

If you are interested in getting a degree in International Education, Sustainable Development, and/or Conflict Transformation, then please consider SIT (School for International Training) www.sit.edu 


  1. use to travel with my U.S. passport, but now I’m gaining an education that will give me authorization to travel, live and work without boarders.Manabadi

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