Hola,

As many of you know, I am a Bottom Line student. This means that I come from a low income household, I am the first in my family or from the first generation of my family to attend college, and I earned at least a 2.5 GPA in high school. Like the majority of Bottom Line students, I am considered a minority* student. Why am I mentioning this? Because many minority students tend to hold back from the study abroad experience. There is plenty of research proving this to be true. Trust me: if studying abroad is really what you want to do, then you can make it happen regardless of the obstacles that we face as minority students!

A year ago, my Bottom Line counselor told me that her brother did some research on minority college students going abroad. The research showed that not many of us actually went through with it. As soon as the meeting with my counselor was over, I quickly headed back to my dorm room and started researching. The research I found showed that only a limited number of African-American and Hispanic/Latino students actually studied in a foreign country (here’s results from one study). I was very skeptical of the research that had been compiled throughout the years; when I was applying to study abroad, many other Holy Cross minority students were applying to the program too. A couple of months later, almost all of my fellow classmates were accepted into the various programs. However, as I sit here in my house in Spain, the majority of the minority Holy Cross students who dreamed of going abroad are still at home.

You may wonder, “Well, maybe they just couldn’t afford to go abroad.” Then how was I able to come abroad even though I come from a low-income family? You may then think, “Maybe their major did not allow them.” I am a double major and completing a concentration and I did it! Yes, some majors or tracks make it much more difficult to go abroad (i.e. Premed, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, Political Science), but 3 premed students, 2 chemistry majors, 1 political science major, and 1 economics major are currently studying in Spain with me. Do you see what I mean? Studying abroad is very possible! Of course, difficult family or financial circumstances may arise last minute that can hinder our chances of going abroad. However, although us minority students face our own unique set of challenges, I am living proof that studying abroad is possible.

College of the Holy Cross students currently studying in Spain.

If YOU are interested in going abroad and have no serious reasons not to then YOU totally should! Seek out information and resources at your college’s Study Abroad Office or ALANA Cultural Center. Talk to your academic advisor about how you can meet your major requirements while studying abroad. Look for funding that can help you pay for the study abroad experience (the Gilman Scholarship Program is a popular one). Find someone who can help you pick a suitable program and navigate the study abroad process. We all need to come together and start changing the statistics, one minority student at a time. 🙂

Hasta luego,

Kristie

 

*By “minority” I mean African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, etc.

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