Many of you are aware that I have been trying to study abroad in the Dominican Republic for the past two years. However, as the good saying goes; "third time's a charm." The opportunity to extend my education abroad has presented itself again and I am eager to make it happen as I close my collegiate journey at the University of Kentucky.
About Me: I am a 23-year-old senior at the University of Kentucky pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Community Leadership & Development in the College of Agriculture. I am a William C. Parker Scholarship recipient and the treasurer of Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources in Related Sciences (MANRRS), a student organization that focuses on professional development, community service, and agricultural awareness. In 2013 my MANRRS organization was awarded National Chapter of the Year in Sacramento, California. During the summers of 2012 and 2013, I completed two internships as a 4H-Agent through the University of Kentucky's Cooperative Extension organization. I spent time in Jefferson County of Louisville, Kentucky and Hardin County or Radcliff, KY, my hometown.
I am currently employed as an Extended School Program Counselor at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Lexington, Student Office Assistant at the James W. Stuckert Career Center, and on the weekends I am a sales associate at Macy's department store in Fayette Mall. I am very active in the Lexington community with service as well. When given the opportunity, I speak and work with a group of young teenage boys who are apart of the Bracktown Academy.
About the Trip: "Diverse Communities in The Dominican Republic"
The program in the Dominican Republic will focus on the merging and persistent issues of diverse communities by analyzing the constructs of and considering the implications amongst various localities. This course will expose U.S. students of underrepresented areas to opportunities abroad by creating diversity amongst the human experience. Students will address questions such as:
1.How do we define, measure, and evaluate the differences among communities?
2.What factors contribute to the emergence and persistence of the inequalties among communes?
3. What are the consequences of these inequalitites for the people who live in these communities?
-Participate in a service-learning project with a local community organization
-Explore the identity and culture of Santiago, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, and Santo Dominigo, the first city in the New World established by European explorers
-Examine Dominican Republic- Haiti relations through a guest lecture and visit to the Batey Libertad (Haitian market) and Mercado Dejabon, a flea market held near the border.
Why Study Abroad?
I want to study abroad because I want to experience what it is like to be apart of a different culture, especially during a time in which globalization is increasing. This experience will force me to learn more about myself and the developing world around me. I have had many friends who studied abroad before graduation and they have given me some insight on the opportunity. I was able to ask about their experiences. The responses are given below.
Q: Why is it important to study abroad in college?
A: "...It gives you an opportunity to see and experience other cultures and realize that there is so much more out there other than the country we live in. It also increases your value to potential employers. Employers value candidates with international experience."- Caleb Hammon (Farm Credit- Recruitment/Marketing Specialist, Kentucky Alum '13,)
A: "Studying abroad allows you to now only emerge yourself in a new culture, but it gets you out of your comfort zone in a fun and exciting way. It allows you to see how other people live and gives you a new appreciation for what you already have."- Shameen Eure (Tyson Foods- Production Supervisor, Kentucky Alum '13, North Hardin HS Alum '09)
A: "After the experience, you become more "well-rounded" as an individual. You learn about cultures and places that something's just cannot be taught through a book or classroom. You need the hands-on experience."- Kastine Evans (Senior- Business Management major with a minor in African American studies. Also a member of the University of Kentucky Women's Basketball team)
What I am asking:
I am asking for any donation that will help fund my Study Abroad trip to the Dominican Republic. From a $1 to $100 the amount doesn't matter to me, but the encouraged support does! Please, Share this fundraiser to anyone and everyone you know via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even word of mouth! I personally would appreciate it.
Plan of Action:
With an opportunity like this, I will be recording this experience in every way imaginable. I plan to create a blog that will journal every exciting moment I have on this trip, as well as details about the difference in lifestyles. Much of my trip will be revolve around service-learning projects within the community. It is essential that I take advantage of learning about lower socioeconomic areas and affluent communities not only for the "good experience" aspect, but to use what I have learned to take action and have a positive impact on the communities I contact in the Dominican Republic as well as my own. For those of you who donate to the fundraiser, you will have the option (if you choose) to be informed by the blog as I create each post. I do hope that some form of contact information is left. I will make it my personal effort to thank each and every person who contributes. I do not want the support from you to go unnoticed (So Please! Leave your name, number, email, or address).
Thank You For Your Support!
- Theresa Spencer
- Education Abroad Scholarship
- Jackie Bramblett
- Harold Trig Marvin
- Jameasha Pierce
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