With some support, FAMU students can take on the world

Student's from last year's spring break trip to South Africa gathered
outside of Nelson Mandela Stadium Photo credit: Vallery Agenor 

For the fourth consecutive spring break, Florida A&M University (FAMU) students will be engaged in study abroad trips with some help from the university and the Student Government Association (SGA).

A group of students will be traveling to Cuba, South Africa, and Dubai this March as a chance to see the world outside of the United States. Dr. Christopher Daniels, who works in FAMU’s College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities department, is over the trip credits SGA has helped make the trip affordable.

“SGA has helped us out with funds for the trip and that’s helped a lot of students see the opportunity,” Daniels said. “Students are still paying the majority of the cost of the trip, but SGA helps to offset some of the costs.”

Students who travel, hold events such as clothing drives to benefit an orphanage in South Africa. Along with that effort, students host a FAMU Day, where they feed the children at the orphanage and interact with them, helping to build the FAMU brand.

Studying abroad gives students opportunities that extend beyond the boundaries of United States. Daniels believes the international experience is one of the most important factors of studying abroad.

“It’s very important for students to study abroad because it gives them exposure to different countries, languages, and cultures, and opens up their eyes to international opportunities,” Daniels said. “A lot of people think the only jobs that exist are in their hometowns, but what you realize when you travel is that you can work all over the world.”

Student's from last year's trip during their visit to Dubai.
| Photo credit: Vallery Agenor

Some of the opportunities that Daniels mentioned include internships, jobs with overseas non-profit organizations, and the most lucrative option, working with the government. Students have certainly taken advantage of these trips. Daniels began overseeing the trips in 2011 with a group of five students. This year, he will be going with a group of approximately 40 students.  

Chase Beasley, a senior English student who is going to Cuba, is taking the opportunity to improve his fluency in Spanish and assist with his journalism career.

“It’s an Afro-Cuban learning experience, and I am interested in learning more about the African Diaspora. As a writer, one of my stories takes place in Cuba and I would like to get more of that in-depth, cultural experience,” Beasley said.

Pierre Cireus, a sophomore computer science student, as well as the university’s International Study Abroad Ambassador, looks forward to his trip to Cuba and recalled the experiences he’s learned in past trips. Cireus traveled to South Africa and Dubai during last year’s spring break study abroad trip.

“When I went to South Africa I had a change of my thinking process. Here in the United States, you have a certain mentality because you haven’t seen other parts of the world to compare with the environment you live in,” Cireus said. “But when you see the necessities in other countries, it really helps you appreciate what you have here.”

For students that do want to study abroad, there are scholarships such as the Gilman Scholarship and the Boren Scholarship that will help pay for the programs. Any students looking for more information can stop by the Office of International Education and Development in Lee Hall.