My mom used to tell me to see the world before I decided to settle down. “There are so many different cultures and people that you have yet to experience. Don’t wait until you are 40 to see the world,” Mama Walker always said. It has always been a goal for me to see the world. Every black millennial should leave the comforts of their home and see the world for themselves. I promise you it will be worth it and you will learn so much more about yourself. I don’t know how to convince you that this will be the best trip of your life, so I will tell you why I am going and what I have learned from previous trips.
1. Black Women are Goddesses
Some cultures have taken our curves, our braids, our boldness and our melanin greatness for their own. It’s common for me to see overly tanned women attempt to add to their God given features so that they can look more like us – I guess we can call that a compliment. However, when we wear what’s ours, they try to come for our lives. Let me tell you, when I got to Spain I got the shock of my life. I was approached by multiple men from different races. I did not get uncomfortable stares if I was the only black woman in the room. Girl, take yourself abroad and see that others see your beauty. Not all are trying to exoticize you and take who you are.
2. My History Textbooks Do Not Hold All of the Answers
There is this beautiful mosque turned church in the heart of Cordoba, Spain, named the Cathedral of Córdoba. When the Muslims conquered Spain in 711 they built a beautiful mosque. When the Christians retook Spain in the early 12th century they converted the mosque into a Catholic Cathedral. As you make your way through the building the mosque portions are still intact and the Cathedral was built on. History textbooks can only show me the still shots of historical sites. I like the idea of seeing history for myself and taking in the whole seen because the camera can only capture so much.
3. Working My Butt Off For What I Want
Historically, only about 5% of black students study abroad. There are a whole list of reasons for this. The biggest, in my opinion, is finances. I am studying abroad for four months in London. The estimated cost is $25,000. My tuition for the YEAR is $30,000, so it’s completely understandable that we would not be quick to jump on the study abroad train. There are resources for us, granted no one likes to tell us about them. I spent all summer scouring the internet for scholarships and I have found some good ones. This trip isn’t just for the pictures, it’s the culmination of every website that I read that was a dead end. It’s for every scholarship denial that I received, every scholarship I did receive, and for every connection I made in the process. Study abroad because the risk is worth the reward.
4. You Get Closer to God
Before deciding to study abroad, I was one of those people that did not know how to pray. I could recite a verse in the Bible that was said as a way to close the service, but besides that I sucked at it. I quickly learned in this process that there are things that I can’t do by myself. There are things that require faith, patience, and prayer. For me, studying abroad was the trigger that showed me that I am helpless and will probably fail if I try to do this on my own. I will Eat Pray Love my way through this adventure and hopefully learn more about myself.
If you are on the fence about studying abroad and worried about scholarships, I have included a list of potential scholarships that you can apply for: