Aleksandra Benedict makes it her duty to assist and provide golden opportunities for students at Florida A&M to study abroad.
Benedict is from Moscow, Russia and has lived in the United States for 12 years. She transitioned into living in the U.S. while working as a work and travel participant for two years. In this East European program, students travel to the U.S. to work and travel.
“I did that for two years and the second year I decided to stay here and pursue my education here in the United States,” said Benedict.
Benedict moved to Tallahassee for her undergraduate studies and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in German and Russian studies at Florida State University.
Currently, Benedict works as the education abroad coordinator in the Office of International Education and Development. Benedict has held this title for the past two years. Her favorite thing to do is talk with students.
“I like learning about what they want to do and like, what they inspire to do or become,” said Benedict. “I’m very happy to hear that the majority of our students who come to our office are change-oriented.”
Benedict’s passion to see students travel grew when she first took 24 students to Russia when she worked for FSU’s international program.
Benedict’s passion to help students experience stud-abroad opportunites blossomed when she took her first group of students on a trip to Moscow. During this trip, she was able to witness first-hand students’ fascination on experiencing different cultural immersions.
“The first year when we brought a group of students to Moscow, just seeing throughout their first weeks that they were in a (different) country, (seeing) their facial expressions change. Just seeing how students start to respect other cultures more, that was fascinating, and that’s how I decided that I wanted to work in this field,” Benedict said.
Benedict feels that it is important for students to take advantage and study abroad.
“The United States is separated from the rest of the world; geographically, culturally, and politically if you will,” Benedict said. “I just want for our students to see what kind of impact the United States has on the rest of the world.”
Third year psychology major Tydazhja Francois recently studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.
“Last summer, I made it my goal to study abroad in Africa. I went to the study abroad office and let them know this is what I want to do, this is where I want to go, and they pointed me to a lot of programs and opportunities,” said Francois.
Francois’ trip was funded primarily by scholarships, grants and personal funding.
With multiple study abroad fairs, forums, and events hosted throughout the semester, Benedict strongly encourages students to take advantage of these opportunities.
The Office of International Education and Development has moved to Perry Paige, Suite 302 North. For more information regarding study abroad plans and opportunities, reach out to Benedict via email or by appointment.