Senegal Study Away Program

My name is Halimah and I am a Junior at Kent State University studying fashion design and merchandising.

Since I was a little girl I've dreamt of becoming a fashion designer and using my talents, skill, vision and art to help young women. I dream of doing work that helps positively shifts the standard of beauty in the industry by representing the beauty of modest fashion.

Attending Kent State was a dream of mine. One of the most attractive things I found in the school was the study away opportunities that were offered. I've always held the belief that when we were all born we became world citizens (not simply citizens of the neighborhood/city/state we're from). I believe that travel affords an opportunity for the human being to expand and grow in experience and knowledge. This type of expansion holds the potential to significantly impact not only the individual, but the community it comes from and believes in through the work they are able to consequently do. Not having traveled much in grade school I set my eyes on taking advantage of study abroad programs in college.

Attending a Predominantly White Institution was an experience the significantly caused me to question my cultural identity. Specifically being a black person born in America or as some would say "African American" meeting, connecting with and building so many beautiful relationships with people of so many different cultures and backgrounds was beautiful but also shocking. I've always known about the slave trade and institution of Slavery and the impacts that it has on today...but going to a PWI caused me to realize and grieve over that reality in a whole new way. When your friend whose an international student asks, "oh where are you from" and you respond "Detroit" and they look at you confused like, "no, where are you really from like, where are your parents from?" and I say "from here. like me....America" and they're looking at you like, "no, you're black, you're like African where are you originally from? where are your grandparents from?" and you reach this moment where you remember that this type of questioning only goes so far. SLAVERY HAPPENED and there is a lot I don't know. and when you have introductions like these, or simply learn about others cultures on an intimate level. It constantly hits you....slavery happened. But, just as there is pain there is so much beauty in the experience of being Black in America or African American. Over the last hundred and so years we have build a phenomenally beautiful culture unique to us alone. I find so much pride and sustenance in that history and in the reality and hope for the future of my people tomorrow.

After my freshmen year I had the unexpected opportunity to go on an 18 day road trip across the country with a powerful organization named Mishkah. On this trip we explored the history of America and counterculture. It was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had in my life and couldn't have been a better thing for me to have experienced after the realizations I had freshmen year. This trip helped me grow stronger in my self identity and made me excited to learn more and more about who I am, where I come from, and what makes me---me.

This trip greatly inspired me to do something I've always wanted to do--and that was go to West Africa! I knew in my heart a trip like this would teach me so much. The opportunity presented itself to go last summer.....but for several different reasons I couldn't take advantage of it--and was honestly scared of pursuing it fully.

Now, I'm blessed with another chance and I do not believe in allowing it to slip by..I am so excited to God willing go to Senegal this summer for a 2 week study away trip with the Pan-African Dept. of my school!

As a child I've always dreamed of traveling the world. Like I said before, when we were born we became apart of the human race. But far too often opportunity and resources create limitations where so many do not have this chance. I know studying away to Senegal will change my life. I believe it will grow me professionally, spiritually, mentally ,and artistically.. providing for me more knowledge and experience to grow as a person ready, willing and able to take what was given and make the world around me a better place.

 I'm going to learn more about myself, my culture, my history and in doing so come back with a greater awareness of how best to serve my community. Please consider donating to my campaign to have an experience that i believe will not only change my life, but the lives of those who I hold the power and potential to influence.

Thank you! <3

All donations will go towards the program fee associated with the trip.

Details on trip:


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Halimah Muhammad 
Detroit, MI
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