Study abroad veterans urge others to give it a try

Students who have traveled through FAMU’s study abroad program including Asia and France.
Collage courtesy: FAMU study abroad workshop

Studying abroad can be a rewarding experience for students as they connect with other cultures and countries while furthering their scope of education.

At Florida A&M University, students have the opportunity to learn more about how to access these excursions at the upcoming Study Abroad Fair. Students such as Braxton McMillon and Morgan Muse are advocates for taking time out of your normal routine to indulge in another country.

McMillon is a senior business administration student at FAMU who studied for six months at Universidad Del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia. Studying abroad is something that only about 5.3% of Black college students experience, compared to a whopping 68.6% of Caucasian students according to

While studying courses in finance, McMillon says that he was part of an even smaller percentage.

“In my foreign exchange program there were about 90 students, and something that was really shocking was that I was the only FAMU student in the program, I was the only HBCU student in the program, and on top of all of that I was the only Black student in that program,” said McMillon. “That really opened my eyes to how there needs to be more of us in that international space, we need to take advantage of those international opportunities because that’s what our competition is doing.”

McMillon says that the experience expanded his cultural awareness. Though he was proficient in Spanish, being immersed in a Spanish-speaking home brought about a different kind of reality.

“They didn’t speak any English, they didn’t have any interest in speaking English,” McMillon said, “That was a plus because that’s what I wanted, my back against the wall, kind of in an uncomfortable state where I was forced to speak the language, adapt to the culture, and assimilate.”

McMillon says he was opened up to a cross-cultural exchange of not just Colombian culture, but a way of life and language from his classmates including countries like France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Germany, to name a few. Along with the cultural changes that he experienced, he says that traveling has changed the way he sees his future, and his career.

“It changed my career trajectory, I was really on the finance trajectory … after that study abroad experience, that inspired me to become a United States diplomat. That’s my goal, to be able to work in different U.S. embassies around the world, and really invoke change in a global space.”

Muse is a fifth-year professional MBA candidate with a minor in computer science. After interning with, Merck Biopharma, in Tokyo, Japan, she says she would definitely do her internship again.

“I was exposed to a completely different market. I was working in the email campaign service, so I was trying to update email campaigns and come up with new techniques in a Japanese market. Email campaigns are completely different, it’s similar to what SHEIN’s company kind of looks like.”

Both students had only positive things to say about their experiences out of the country, with one exception —finances.

“I would definitely do it again, but I would look into some additional funding because there are underlying fees,”Muse said.

McMillon agreed, saying that he got a bit of a late start, and that financial hardship was something he faced head on, emphasizing that the Education Abroad department at FAMU could use more human and monetary resources to help students along.

 McMillon has taken it upon himself to be the change he wants to see.

“Due to the demographic makeup of my foreign exchange program, that really inspired me to motivate others to take advantage in study abroad opportunities. So when I came back, I launched my first symposium, it’s called ‘BNternational’ and that’s where I provided tips and resources on studying abroad and working abroad,” said McMillon. “That’s just the first scholarship to many that I plan to provide to students, and especially students who look like us to get abroad. It’s inspired me to begin working on my own non-profit to be able to provide these resources to the student body.”

This year’s Study Abroad Fair will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the Grand Ballroom. For more information visit FAMU’s Education Abroad.