The most rewarding experiences I’ve gained in life have been in other countries. Growing up in the ghetto of St. Louis, Missouri, I was hardly exposed to anything outside of the city limits. As a sophomore in high school, I made the decision that I would not be another statistic. With the help of a Biology teacher, my first college visit was at the University of Central Missouri. Stepping on to campus that first day, I didn’t realize the opportunities I was about to encounter.
One of those opportunities I am forever grateful for is study abroad. The thought of higher education in another country was an opportunity I could not let pass by. The first program I was scheduled to attend did not happen. I planned to go to London, but I had never been outside the country, in fact, I hadn't been outside Missouri. So unfortunately, my fear allowed the opportunity to slip away. However, all was not lost! I got my determination back, but this time I landed a spot in Jamaica. London would have been nice, but hot sand and a cool breeze just sounded more appealing! Being in Jamaica opened my mind to a world of possibilities.
In this day and age, traveling abroad is necessary. Travel helps you become a well-rounded global citizen. The experiences you gain abroad allow you the ability to contribute to the global conversation that can change the world. Since Jamaica, I have been to Cuba, and I am headed to Spain this summer!
Keyontae Richardson is a senior at the University of Central Missouri (UCM), pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with double minors in Africana Studies and Political Science.