Summer Luckey, a councelor education graduate student, studied abroad on the Higher Education in Brazil: Access, Equity, and Opportunity education abroad program during spring break 2019.
This program was created to give Ohio State students the opportunity to better understand the role of higher education in Brazil and the educational needs of low-income and first generation students, particularly Afro-Brazilians.
I chose this program because I was curious about educational systems in other countries. As a former teacher and soon-to-be school counselor, I seek to improve the access to and quality of education my students receive. Often, educators are met with challenges, and I am seeking to find solutions to the issues students face. By taking time to learn the perspectives of and immerse myself in other cultures and systems, I can incorporate new learning and experiences into my work as I pay it forward when returning to work and school in Ohio. Also, I knew that taking the time to travel to another part of the world with a group of people I didn't know and having the chance to collaborate and connect with Afro-Brazilian students would allow me to have a memorable and transformative experience I would never forget.
My transformational moment abroad was during a visit to a local elementary school. This school was located in a low-income area and thrived off of the resources of its community. This moment reminded me of the importance of the school-community connection and the reason for why I do what I do. The impact the school had on its students was unbelievable. This visit also reminded me that I don't have to carry the burden of servicing all of my students on my own. I can only do what I can do, but leaning into community can help fill gaps that I may not have the resources to fill and also aid in promoting the overall success of students.
There is so much of the world we all have yet to see. Traveling abroad exposes you to new cultures, requires you to step outside of your comfort zone and allows you the chance to sincerely empathize with immigrants and foreigners who come to America where everything is not their norm. You can learn a lot about yourself and the world around you from a first-hand experience abroad that you cannot learn anywhere else. Plus, if you give 100 percent of yourself to the abroad experience, I can guarantee that you will never be the same.