Studying abroad essay

I am Stacie Richard and I am a graduating senior at The University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Journalism. I am the youngest of three daughters to Sharon and Harold Richard. I have a huge passion for creating and shooting documentaries, writing on relevant societal issues, and latest on entertainment and fashion. I was selected from a competitive pool of applicants to participate in a Study Abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa this past summer. In Africa, I studied urban Economic Development at The University of Cape Town and interned in Lavender Hill townships. After graduating, I hope to intern with a media company either in Los Angeles or New York! I love Texas, but I am ready to take my brand to the next level. [I am my own brand] My dream job is to be apart of the hosting crew on Good Morning America!

Studying Abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve made as an undergrad. I spent my summer studying in Cape Town, South Africa and I loved every minute I spent in there. I absolutely do not regret it. Prior to applying for the program, I questioned myself “Is going abroad really worth it?” or “Do I really want to be that far away from my family for an entire month?” I attended many info sessions and the recruiters were quite convincing. “You will learn more about yourself and you will meet potential life long friends studying abroad.” My initial reaction to those statements was “Yeah right, I know myself well enough and I have enough friends.” After researching Cape Town, I applied and submitted my application two days before the deadline. I was anxious because after deep thought, I realized this experience would be amazing and a once in a lifetime opportunity. The week before Thanksgiving break, I received a life changing email. I was accepted into the Study Abroad program! I bought my plane ticket, saved up spending money, applied for my passport, and made necessary contact with my bank informing them I would be out of the country. The night before my departure, I was nervous! I couldn’t believe I was about to leave America for the first time and embrace new cultures. I was not ready to leave but I was ready to make new memories. I arrived at the airport, said bye to my family, boarded the plane, and relaxed for the 13-hour flight to Cape Town! Cape Town is a beautiful city. I got the chance to see Nelson Mandela’s actual prison cell, climb Lion Head and Table Mountain, go to a game reserve, and bond with a group of individuals that I’d probably never would even indulge in conversation with. I interned in one of the townships at a Primary School. The kids at the school took my heart away. They were so talented and smart and amazed to see an American. They had so many questions to ask me about the American culture. I can honestly say that I did meet some of the greatest people ever and I consider them all as my close friends now. You learn about others on a different and deeper level when you are in another country, far from home, for a whole month. I learned a lot about myself, I found a new passion and became more grateful for the things I that I have instead of always complaining about what I do not have. Being around others who wish to have the life you live, even if you think its not all that great currently really makes you appreciate the small things. Coming back to America, I could see the change in me. I wanted to do more and go back to Africa and help more. If I weren’t graduating this spring, I would definitely apply for another study abroad program. I highly encourage it. Step out of your norm and see the world. Do not let the financial aspect of study abroad alter your decision on creating life long memories.

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