Jamie studied abroad in Gaborone, Botswana through the CIEE Community Public Health program. She will graduate from WKU in May 2016 and plans to go on and attend medical school.
Biology & Psychology
When and where did you study abroad?
Fall 2013 - CIEE Community Public Health program in Gaborone, Botswana
What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?
Being exposed to a completely new culture taught me that the way we do things in America is not the only way. Just because it’s what I am familiar with doesn’t make it right. There is so much out there and so much to learn and studying abroad has only increased my hunger to travel everywhere. My four months abroad taught me to be thankful for the little things I have, from heat and air conditioning to water to family support. I gained independence and confidence as I tried new things such as conquering a public transportation system, learning a new language, and even bungee jumping off a bridge! I’ve become more assertive, more flexible, and more ready to tackle any challenge that comes my way.
What was your biggest challenge while studying abroad and how did you manage it?
The most challenging part for me was being a minority for the first time. I was constantly stared at and it was incredibly uncomfortable. I was hollered at and even harassed by men on a daily basis. I learned to deal it with it by ignoring the rude people and finding more welcoming people to spend time with. Knowing my other American friends were going through the same thing was also comforting.
What advice would you give to other students thinking about studying abroad?
Stop thinking and just do it! I know it may be scary, but you won’t regret it. You’ll learn things about the world and about yourself that you can never understand in a classroom.