First-Generation and Non-Traditional Students Abroad

I am happy to be writing to you since returning from the 2017-2018 India Winterim Study Abroad Program. It was an adventure to say the least, but I hope my letter will provide you with some insight and direction in your choices of studying abroad. I will describe the sites visited as well as the field based learning opportunities.I studied abroad in Bangalore, Karnataka, India in the section titled: Youth, Nutrition, and Foods. This program aimed to educate students about India’s overall culture and cuisine, the ways in which schools and businesses work together to feed India’s children living in low income populations and/or living with disabilities, and the history of India to provide a better understanding of it’s current landscape today.

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My name is Amanda Burroughs, and I am a first generation college student, as well as an only child. I come from a middle class family in which no one before me ever attended college, and I have a lot of student loans covering the cost of my education. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably considering studying abroad but you aren’t sure how to make it happen, or if it’s even possible with a limited budget. About 6 months ago, I found out about an amazing program called the India Winterim. I wanted more than anything to be a part of that trip, and I knew in my heart that it would be the experience of a lifetime, but my heart sank when I looked at the program cost sheet. It can be discouraging when you first look at the expense of going abroad, but I am here to assure you that if you are truly passionate about traveling and determined to have an experience abroad, you CAN find a way to make it happen!

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My name is Juan Martin. I am a proud Latino and I am the first in my family to go to college. I wanted to show my family what a college education, what a student from the Tippie College of Business, has the abilities to do: at home and abroad. I spent the entirety of my summer interning for a French financial institution in the heart of Paris. This was also the first time I had ever been outside of the country and the first time I could truly learn and immerse myself into another country’s culture.

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my_study_abroad_group_trying_on_all_kinds_of_moroccan_scarves
My name is Nazira Coury and I am a fourth-year student majoring in International Relations, and minoring in Latin American Studies and Arabic. During the summer of 2017, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad for nine weeks in the very hot, but very beautiful city of Fes, Morocco. As a first generation student, I am the first person in my family to go to college and now, I am also the first in my family to have studied abroad.

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Diversity Ambassador Jenny Gonzalez
My name is Jenny and I am an undergraduate student currently in the athletic training program. I am a first generation student from the suburbs of Chicago. I am half Polish and half Guatemalan and, as you can imagine, I was brought up in a household full of different culture. From a young age I was very interested in indulging in different cultures so I knew studying abroad was something I wanted to do when I came to the University of Iowa.

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Diversity Ambassador Ashley Arkfeld
My name is Ashley Arkfeld, and I am a first generation student as well as the first in my family to study abroad. I interned abroad in Barcelona, Spain this summer. Funding a trip abroad for an unpaid internship was something that many of my peers, family members, and friends couldn’t quite wrap their heads around. “Why are you paying to go work over there?” “Couldn’t you get a paid internship here?” “That seems like a waste of money.” I listened to comments and questions such as these for months prior to my trip abroad. Though it seemed silly to so many bystanders, the experience was worth the cost in my eyes. With that being said, scholarships and grants covered 70% of my program costs.

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My name is Kelsey O’Donnell and I am a fourth year student double majoring in International Studies and Anthropology. For my entire third year, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Cork, Ireland. As a first-generation college student, my sisters and I are the first of our family to attend university, while I am the first of my family to travel abroad. As indicated by my choice in majors, I have always enjoyed learning about other cultures and traveling. As a first year student at Iowa, I was bombarded with information about events and opportunities.

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Diversity Ambassador Jose Diaz at Stonehenge
I never have traveled outside of the Continental US and Mexico. Being a first-generation student from a Mexican background, every opportunity I have had to go on a trip was usually to visit my family in Mexico. Although, I have always wanted to go somewhere completely different from anything I have experienced before. I decided to, quite abruptly, apply to the London Winterim Program. I felt that a college experience would just not be complete unless one studies abroad while they have the opportunity to and I also really wanted to experience being in another continent.

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Hello University of Iowa students thinking about studying abroad! Last year, around this time, I was looking into studying abroad just like you! This experience has changed my life. I saw my textbooks come to life, met amazing people, and, above all, found myself.

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UI student in Cinque Terre
Kali Slaymaker is a first-generation college student who will earn her degree in marketing from the University of Iowa in 2016 after just three years of study. Kali was a 2015 recipient of the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship for Study Abroad which she applied toward a summer program with CIMBA in Paderno Del Grappa, Italy during summer 2015. The following is a reflection by Kali on her time abroad.

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