ECPI University Program Provides Life-Changing Experience
By Alvin Fowlkes, Richmond/Innsbrook Campus Business Faculty, Study Abroad Coordinator
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been approached with questions about ECPI University’s Study Abroad program. They run the gamut, ranging from food to activities to travel time. However, the ones that I get the most are, “aren’t you afraid that something might happen being so far away from home” and “what’s so great about traveling to another country anyway?”
I have come to realize that these questions are the most prevalent because they have one particular thing in common and that is FEAR; fear of the unknown, fear of embarrassment, fear of new things, fear of new people; the list is comprehensive. I understand this thought process because there was a time in my life that I felt this way. I was afraid to travel to a strange place where people ate different things and spoke different languages and I most certainly wasn’t going to take a trip alone without someone to protect me or help me should the need arise. What I realized though is that my feelings were very real, but completely irrational. They were solely based on fear and misinformation. So, what did I do about it, you may ask? I took a trip out of the country…alone.
[Tweet “I was afraid to travel to a strange place where people ate different things and spoke different languages.”]
In 2014, I took my first international trip to the Dominican Republic. I was nervous, but excited; intimidated but inspired; anxious but anticipatory. I was an amalgamation of emotions that were all mixed up, but I used those emotions to my advantage. I spent five days in the Dominican Republic and it was the absolute best time of my life. I met new people, saw incredible things, and listened to incredible music. I ate delicious food and traveled throughout the country learning history and tradition. It was one of the most enriching experiences of my entire life. That first trip abroad fundamentally changed me for the better.
I not only learned about another culture, I also learned things about myself, and what I was capable of if given the chance. I took the chance to go to another country where English was not the primary language and had to learn how to communicate with people. Was it challenging? Yes it was. Was it worth it? Without a doubt. Hence, I have been abroad many times since.
[Tweet “I not only learned about another culture, I also learned things about myself.”]
So, why should you take the opportunity to study abroad with ECPI University? I can tell you honestly, it could be one of the most enriching experiences of your entire life. International travel is a transformative experience. Visiting places you have learned about in school and interacting with people from different cultures provides an entirely new worldview. You can gain confidence and maturity, try different foods and immerse yourself in another culture.
In addition, you can obtain marketable experience. Potential employers will appreciate your enhanced perspective because it demonstrates maturity and worldliness. Don’t take my word for it; I want you to experience it for yourself. Take advantage of this opportunity and see all the world has to offer.
In March 2019, the study abroad program heads to Japan. All students and alumni, as well as their family and friends are eligible to go on the trip. For more information, please contact faculty coordinator Alvin Fowlkes at [email protected].