2015 Global Scholar
Civil Engineering Major
The Global Scholars Program was pivotal in my growth as a globally conscious individual. The seminar helped me learn about and question the world around me. Our small group of students talked about our local and global communities and where we belonged. We discussed how we could make them better. What I learned in class helped make my study abroad experience so much more meaningful. Being a part of the Global Scholars program broadened my horizons. The scholarship was instrumental in helping fund my study abroad experience.
As for my study abroad program, I wanted to go somewhere off the beaten track. The University of Cape Town piqued my interest as the most prestigious university on the continent of Africa. Cape Town, surrounded by mountains and the ocean, is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. It is an amazingly diverse city with great food and lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Additionally, when I was searching for a study abroad program, there was a lot of tension in the United States because of the shooting of Michael Brown. I was thinking and talking about social justice, especially pertaining to race. South Africa, with its history of apartheid and the victory over it, seemed like a fitting place to go to continue learning about justice.
The most important personal thing I will take away from my experience is the sincere confidence that I gained from going somewhere new by myself. I went to the opposite corner of the Earth and made friends and connected with the community. It was really difficult the first month, but by the end, I didn’t want to leave. I learned so much about myself, and it may be cliché but people always say that studying abroad changes your life because it really does.
Cape Town is an amazing city. Whatever you like – hiking, surfing, eating great food, shopping, sports – there is something for you. I had an amazing experience and am looking to go back as soon as I can. I enjoyed so many great sunrise hikes, Saturday morning market trips, and exploring all of the Cape Peninsula. I met incredible people from all over the continent, and I miss it almost every day. I am so thankful that I was able to have this incredible, life-changing experience.