Student Spotlight (& Advice): Bijou Coulibaly

Bijou Coulibaly

Picture3 France is a beautiful place, I am glad to have been raised and educated there. But when people think of France, they usually think of Paris, or stereotypes of the cold, rude, and distant Parisian. However, just like America, France is quite big and diverse.

I was raised in Montpellier, South of France. Located on the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, it is the third-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille and Nice. People in Montpellier tend to be very outdoorsy because, let’s be serious, if you live in the most beautiful Area of France, why would you want to spend time inside?

Another great thing about Montpellier is that it is really close to Spain, like we are good neighbors. So it will only take you a few hours by TGV train ride to get to Spain. Words can’t express how much I love Montpellier. But I am a big traveler, for my mother is from Morocco and my father from West Africa/Mali. I had been to both places and to other places in Africa like South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Burkina-Faso.

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I’ve also been to a lot of places in Europe like Spain (our cool neighbors), Rome, London, Paris (now I’m laughing), Switzerland, Monaco (so far my favorite), Amsterdam, and Berlin. Most people like me who have a diverse background due to both parents, who are from different countries and tend to travel a lot, but I think that being raised in a place like Montpellier also has something to do with it, because in Europe places are so close to one another that most people tend to travel to different countries taking the TGV almost every other weekend.

I would encourage CBU students to enjoy this experience, because traveling has done so much for me. It helps you know or discover different people, and trust me when I say this: you will be amazed by how people are different in both good and awkward ways. For instance: Moroccans would be really offended if you walked into their living room with your shoes on, and a Spaniard would feel insulted if you asked them do any task during Siesta time. And, of course, a typical person from Montpellier (myself) will be disappointed if you have no diverse background and have no interest in traveling around the world. So travel, explore the world, and come back here and let me know how it went! — Bijou Coulibaly (Business Administration ’16)

Stop by the Study Abroad Office and visit Bijou and discuss her adventures and upcoming trips for CBU.

MHIRT Renewal

showing-children-a-photoCongratulation to Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald (Biology) for renewal of the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) grant, which  provides which opportunities for students to work, study, and travel in exotic areas abroad. The grant funding of $1.3 million extends the MHIRT program through 2019. MHIRT is an innovative science and research initiative that provides funded summer research opportunities for students in basic science, public health education and qualitative projects in Brazil and Uganda. CBU’s program has been funded by NIH for 15 continuous years.

If you would like more information about MHIRT, please visit the website at www.cbu.edu/mhirt or contact Jayanni Webster, MHIRT Program Assistant, at mhirtcbu@gmail.com.

Upcoming Trips

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Memorial at Neuville St. Vaast

Watch for Dr. Neal Palmer’s study trip on World War I sites. In France, students will visit Paris, Reims, Arras, and the battlefield memorials at Vimy Ridge, Verdun, national cemeteries at Neuville St. Vaast and Notre Dame de Lorette, and the Meaux Museum of the Great War. In Paris, we will visit the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triomphe, and more.

Other locations may include Barcelona and Shanghai. Stay tuned!

A Semester Abroad for FREE?

Building on Campus

Building on FH JOANNEUM Campus

Interested in studying aboard for a semester? Are you a business major? Want to go for FREE? 

If you answered “yes” to these questions,  then we have good news for you!

FH Johanneum University in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria  is offering a grant for non-European students to study Hospitality and Tourism Management through a grant that will essentially cover all your expenses! Contact the International Initiatives Office or Dr. James Allen at (901) 321-4222 or jallen9@cbu.edu to find out more!

Editor’s Note

After attending and sometimes helping facilitate multiple orientation and informational sessions throughout campus as a representative for Study Abroad, I can recall one question in particular always being asked: “What if I want to go somewhere else? Somewhere not presented through the CBU program?” My answer to this is simple…do it.

While our program is an insightful overview for those who have never been out of the country, I would never want students to feel limited to just those opportunities presented to them. As a senior headed to Washington, DC for graduate school, I have definitely become more cognizant of how competitive our society has become. Because of this increased attitude of determination and eagerness, young adults are surpassing all comfort zones, reaching for prospects on their own accord.

I remember I had the previous question on my mind my freshman year of college. I knew I wanted to travel more, as I had recently become passionate about exploration of cultures outside my own. Therefore, I came by the Study Abroad office and quickly signed on for a trip to Italy the following May.

However, one day when I was reading the CBU Connection (Yes, I actually read the Connection, and you should too for the exact reason I am about to tell you), I came across the tiniest of announcements that read “GYC Rwanda Application due soon” with a link attached. I’m not going to lie — I did not even know where Rwanda was on a map, but for this fact alone I was intrigued. To spare unnecessary details, I ended up applying, got accepted, and was the youngest member of the three-week summer delegation. Although there is no way to truly express how this experience forever altered me as a person within this newsletter, I can provide a hint with my opening paragraph of my Statement of Purpose for graduate school:

“After walking away from my interview with the Mayor of Karongi, Rwanda, a burning sensation ignited within my chest; when asked about the abhorrent conditions of the Potter’s Community, he had simply stated, ‘The problem of Karongi is not a priority… their problems are not our problems.’ It was then, the summer after my freshman year of college, that I knew that I must never have this mindset. With our world becoming more globalized faster than Apple can produce the newest version of the iPhone, our problems are no longer defined by boundaries or geographical borders. Furthermore, my passions are driven by experiences not limited by the mighty Mississippi or the Mason Dixon Line; my fervor is capitalized by tenacious curiosity, underlined by a firm belief in human rights, and emboldened by a yearning to always take the road less traveled. A young Anne Frank once wrote, ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’”

Needless to say, I caught the fever for fieldwork in third-world countries, particularly ones stricken by genocide and war crimes. I then turned to the most time efficient, informative source every college student would attribute his degree to: Google. I began searching adamantly for volunteer programs, intern scholarships, or perhaps other academic outlets to travel. The summer after my sophomore year I found myself on a plane to Cambodia for six weeks volunteering with a local NGO through IVHQ.

Both of these “outside” involvements helped develop not only my characteristics as a person but also my career path after graduation as much as the CBU curriculum has prepared me. Like the modest GYC announcement, there are chances throughout our campus that do not receive as much visual traffic. I challenge you to read the flyers, read the emails, read the communicative forms freely presented. I always tell freshmen, “What you will get out of college is positively correlated to the amount of effort you put in.”

So, put in the extra effort. It’s okay to think outside the box; the encouraging professors and faculty here would tell you it is preferred! It took me a little bit to research programs, distinguishing those that I thought were legitimate, filling out applications, and taking the necessary actions to prepare for the trip, but how worth it it was.

But because I know what it is like to be a busy college student, here are some of what I have found to be the best international programs if you are eager to go somewhere else besides Europe or Mexico:

  1. ivhq.org
  2. globalyouthconnect.org
  3. crossculturalsolutions.org

Addendum: Ironically, no one at CBU knew anything about Global Youth Connect so how it ended up in the Connection is still a mystery to me. I like to attribute this situation to perfect timing.

— Melanie Horne

Travel Testimonials: Student Standpoint

AN INTERVIEW WITH REBECCA WAUFORD (Mechanical Engineering ’15)
by Keyara Baltimore

Becky

What were you most excited about before the trip?
I was excited for the overall experience. I love traveling and seeing new places and meeting new people, so I was excited about everything, really.

Describe how this study abroad trip has helped further mold your college career and ultimately your life experience in general?
I want to do something with my life that will be able to positively affect the world. I want to help solve the world’s problems. The trip inspired me to look for ways to take what I am studying and try to find a way to help people.

How did the trip affect contribute to a new potential outlook on life?
After I was treated with such kindness, I try to be very welcoming to people who are visiting — from anywhere, not just from out of the country. I also saw just exactly how fortunate we are in the U.S.

What do you feel that you gained while studying abroad through CBU?
Because I studied abroad through CBU, I got to meet other Lasallian students and teachers. The Lasallian connection that we have through CBU is incredible. We have friends all over the world. Also, because the group I was with was so small, we got to know each other, the professor, the people we met, and probably even the places we went, on a much deeper level.

What did you discover about your own culture while on the trip?
I discovered that engineering students internationally have the same personality types. I discovered how blessed we are in the US. I discovered that other countries have healthier (and really yummy!) food choices than we do. In both Mexico and Spain, people were a lot more family-focused. We sometimes take our families for granted in the States.

Travel Testimonials: A Professor’s Perspective

AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. JAMES ALLEN (Management/Marketing/Economics)
by Keyara Baltimore

How did you get involved with Study Abroad?
When I first arrived to CBU in 2010,  I had reached out to Emily, the International Initiatives Director, to let her know that at my prior institution in Nebraska, I was already highly active with study abroad, so I wanted to get involved immediately at CBU. She informed me about the partnership we have with FH Joanneam University in Austria, which offers sport management courses, which is conveniently what I teach.

How are you involved with Study Abroad?
I have gone to Austria and taught at FH Joanneam University three times. This will be the first summer I won’t be going there since I have been at CBU. Additionally, I coordinate a class in Hospitality and Tourism Concentration in which students have the opportunity to travel to Austria to complete that concentration.

Would you recommend Study Abroad?
Absolutely! I wish every student could do it, to be honest. It’s an eye-opening experience, it broadens your horizons, you meet different cultures, and it helps you understand society and the economy on a global scale. It is so beneficial. One could even learn a foreign language as well as try some new foods.

Future Plans with Study Abroad?
I plan to get more students to travel to Austria. I’m trying to find more financial resources for them so that study abroad can be more widely used and financially accessible. Also, I will definitely be back to Austria to teach; however, I have a one-year-old and a three-year-old so I have to give it some time.

Why Go To PCB When You Can Go To Southern Spain?!

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Study Abroad is now reserving spots for its wonderful Southern Spain trip for Spring Break 2015. The trip will focus on renewable energy and sustainability. Students will visit a solar plant and a wind turbine facility. They will also see mosques, cathedrals, and synagogues. Stroll through the Generalife Gardens and view a fascinating flamenco show. Students will truly be immersed in the culture and ambiance of Southern Spain. The trip is open to all majors and will count towards a requirement for a sustainability minor. The Business Office is now taking deposits of $200 for the trip. Please let studyabroad@cbu.edu know if you are interested or have any questions!

23 Lies You Tell Yourself While Traveling (“This can all fit in the carry-on.”)

1. You can sleep/relax on the flight. You’ll undoubtedly get annoyed with SOMETHING at SOMEPOINT.
2. No social media binges for the entire trip. …#pssshhhh
3. You won’t stand out as a tourist. Put that Hawaiian inspired shirt back in your bag.
4. People will be welcoming. Some will… some will just chuckle.
5. You’ll get an “early start” in the morning. One more snooze…it’s vacation after all, right?
6. You’ll pick up on some of the language. Besides “yes,” “no,” and “Where is the bathroom?”
7. Kilometers are pretty much the same as miles. They never have been and never will be.
8. All decisions will be made with a clear state of mind. Wait, what?
9. You’ll stay in touch with the people you met in the hostel. It’s the novelty effect, and you’ll forget all of their names within the year.
10. You’ll master the country’s hottest dance moves. Your hips may not usually lie, but they are now because they don’t speak the language.
11. You’ll have one of those “best night ever” moments. You can’t predict these, yet you still have hope every time.
12. “We’ll come back!” Again… one can always hope.
13. You’ll “quickly” check in with someone back home. Make that a two-hour conversation.
14. Oh, it’s not that expensive! Your conversion rate is off. Try that math again.
15. This is such an authentic restaurant! Without fail, each trip will include a touristy munching spot that you’ll get sucked into and cannot avoid.
16. You’ll try all the delicacies. But when you hear what they are… maybe not.
17. Calories don’t exist on vacation. As Pooh says, “What could be more important than a little something to eat?”
18. You won’t enter a food coma. This will inevitably happen at least once because everything’s just so yummy.
19. These souvenirs will make great gifts. And then you keep them all for yourself.
20. You’ll accomplish everything on your itinerary. You overbooked yourself, but in the end, it’s OK because what you did do was totally the right decision.
21. Every detail of this trip will be engraved into your memory. You probably won’t remember half of the things that happened, but that’s what photos and friends are for.
22. You won’t be sad to leave. False. A good vacation rarely equals a happy departure back home.
23. You’ll never visit this place again. Wrong. If you loved it, you’ll be back eventually. Until then, just relax and repeatedly scroll through your pictures.

Adapted article from the BuzzFeed community