You have participated in two different study abroad programs. What were those experiences like?
In 2004, I went to Italy and Switzerland for a joint two-week study abroad program between the Departments of Nutrition and Dietetics and Hospitality Management. It was a great experience. We got to travel around both countries and see all of the historical landmarks, all the while studying the tourism industry there. We took tours of hotels, motels, restaurants, and other places included in the hospitality industry. We’d spend three hours at dinner having five course meals, and that was our classroom. We kept a journal of our experiences, because were learning the whole time. Two years later, I had the opportunity to got to Ghana, in west Africa with the history department. We spent two weeks there as well taking courses. That trip in particular was really a life-changing experience for me.
Do you have any tips for anyone thinking of doing study abroad?
First of all, I encourage everyone to do it. It’s fun, life changing, you meet a lot of new people, you make great memories, and you make friends with people here that you may not have otherwise gotten to know. If you can do it early in your college career, do it so you have the opportunity to do it again. I don’t think I would have even gone to Ghana had I not previously participated in the study abroad trip to Europe. The first trip set up the framework for me to go to Ghana later. Everything from getting my passport to getting the correct immunizations, learning what to pack, and getting the proper mindset required for international travel. Once you get on an airplane for that first time knowing that you aren’t going to Atlanta, but to a whole different country on the other side of an ocean, it’s easier to do it again. The trip to Europe gave me the confidence and courage to go somewhere I really wanted to go, Africa.
How else have you taken advantage of opportunities here at ECU?
I have really taken advantage of internship opportunities. I’ve interned at Healthy Carolinians, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and even a radio station in Morehead City last summer. I am also a resident advisor in Clement Hall. Being an RA helps me improve my communication skills and I really enjoy working with my residents. I’ve loved all these experiences.