with the bold text in the example below: The Skychi Travel Guide : 9 TIPS FOR BLACK PEOPLE TO STUDY ABROAD

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Mundelein College which is now part of Loyola University was instrumental in preparing me for a GAP Year Study Abroad in Paris, France. A GAP Year is a transition period during which many young adults travel after graduating from college or university instead of entering the workforce immediately. This very popular practice in Europe which many parents give their young adults money to backpack through Europe for a year.

Villiiers Metro Stop Map in Paris
Villiiers Metro Stop Map in Paris

My French Professor Sister Elsa Copeland taught us to speak French fluently and encouraged us to study abroad. Sister Elsa would say that in order to keep the French language that it is necessary to live the language for one year. Sister Elsa was our personal study abroad program. We were a small class of five students. Jacque was French; Annick was Belgian; Gigi was American; Renarde Black American; Hiromi was Japanese and myself. Sister Elsa mentored us to all travel after we graduated from college which exactly what happened. There was no doubt for us about traveling, money was not a conversational topic. Sister Elsa walked us through the process and the money appeared. Everything just lined up.

During my Mundelein College years I lived at home in the South Shore area of Chicago and would drive to the northside for my classes. I would go some days to the language lab to spend hours listening and repeating French conversations. At home I would practice reading French dialogues while cooking in the kitchen. I would spend hours listening to French conversational cassette tapes.
Sister Elsa individually perfected our pronunciation of the French language by correcting the placement of our tongue and the shape of our lips. She would hold our hands to her throat as she uttered French vowels and consonants. During our lessons she would talk to us about studying abroad. 

These are some of the tips that Sister Elsa taught us to prepare for our GAP Year Study Abroad:

1. Contact the embassy or consulate for a list of schools and courses to research
There are many types of language immersion options other than a traditional university. If you don't have the funds for university in another country then seek out inexpensive language courses at an institute.

2. Request a paper map of the city you plan to live and get to know the communities
You can put the map on your wall and study the layout of the city before you arrive. If you a solo female traveler contact the consulate to find out which neighborhoods are the safest to look for lodging.

3. Create a vision board or dream board of your study abroad
Pinterest is a great tool to collect your photos of the city in which  you desire to study abroad and you can save blogs and articles too.

4 Apply for student discount cards for access to museums before you travel abroad
International Student ID Card provides special rates on airfare, trains, accommodations and more.

5. Apply for international drivers license before you travel abroad
If you plan to rent a car and drive through Europe, you should apply for your international drivers license in the U.S.A.

6. Play the who do you know game
The who do you know game is basically asking your family and friends who do you know that lives  in the city that you want to do your study abroad program.

7. Work visa not available
Some countries do grant work visas to foreigners, so teaching private English lessons is a possible option.

8. Funding your study abroad
Grassroots funding from family, friends and strangers with kickstarter or similar internet donation portals.

9. Connect with online travel communities
There are several black travel group communities which exchange information about traveling and living while black abroad.

a. Nomadness Travel Tribe - Founder Evita Robinson

Nomadness Travel Tribe is an urban travel movement that spans 8,000 members, and over three dozen countries. We're the edgy, under represented demo in the international travel industry, and we've formed our own Tribe. In the invitation-only platform, we share stories, advice, photos and conversation about our personal experiences around the world. We are the new age travel movement!
b. I Luv 2 Globe Trot - Founders Nicole Brewer and Renee Evans
Renee and Nicole both felt it was important to share their journey of trotting the globe with friends, family and soon to be friends through the globe trot community.  Between the two friends they have traveled to more than 20 countries and counting! I Luv 2 Globe Trot is a place for those that are already avid travelers to gain advice and for those interested in travel to learn about breaking free of the mold and living their life with purpose and travel. We want to inspire women, minorities and others alike to trot the globe!

c. Travel Noire - Founder Zim
Travel Noire is a digital publishing platform that creates tools and resources for the unconventional traveler. Founded by a Glamour Magazine award-winning entrepreneur, Travel Noire is a necessity in every traveler’s toolkit. We hand select the most amazing individuals from the African diaspora, who reside all over the globe, to share their love of culture and exploration with you—in the hopes that you will hop out of your neighborhood and across one (or a few) of the seven seas.


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