Ashley's Semester Abroad

I have been presented with an extraordinary opportunity to study abroad at the Canterbury Christ Church University College in Canterbury England for the fall semester of 2014. I am extremely excited and proud. I have lived in the United States for all of my life, and have ALWAYS hoped to one day see more parts of the world. I am studying to become a Counselor of Mental Health. I want to help educate people how to deal with mental health issues, because it affects everyone. I am a nontraditional student, as it wasn't until age 28 that I decided where to focus my studies. After graduating high school, I wasn't sure of the direction I wanted to take in my career, so I worked many jobs, mostly physically demanding, and unrewarding. After years of trying to find my niche, I finally decided to focus my career on something I love, feel I can be very good at, and something that seems to come naturally to me. I enrolled in college and I put in a lot of time and effort to achieve good grades, averaging a gpa of 3.8. As a result of my grades in combination of credit hours, I qualified for my school's semester abroad program. As I am studying to be a counselor, I truly believe that in order to be the best you can be in this profession, it is vital to experience other cultures and see how people live in other parts of the world. I believe that travelling to Europe will only help me to become a more knowledgeable and well rounded individual. The more I know about myself and the world, the more educated and equipped I will be to help support others who really need it. I believe that travelling abroad will greatly enhance my ability to more thouroughly understand struggles the people experience on a day to day basis. I feel that the things I will learn on this trip will transfer well into this particular field of study.
      I do not have any financial assistance for my living expenses while I am in England which will be for three months. I am in great need of financial help. Thanks to student loans and Financial Aid, I have been able to get myself there and will staying with a family, but I am fully responsible to pay for food, travel, and day to day necessities. I am working a full time job including overtime hours to make this trip possible, but I am still coming up short. While I am in England, I have the chance to see more of Europe. I would be so very appreciative of any donations to make this possible for me. It is a dream a goal of mine that I am trying so very hard to make come true. This is an extremly important and exciting opportunity for me, possibly (hopefully not) one of a lifetime. It's something I never would have expected, but England is calling my name. Please help me to answer that call. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Ashley Giles 
Columbia, MO
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