Step Reflection


Name: Travon Terrell


Type of Project: Study Abroad

My study abroad program took 600 undergraduate students to 13 countries all over the world. The program focused on experiential learning while in country as well as diverse programming and classes while on the ship.

Participating in semester as sea allowed me to expand my world view. It is easy to say that we know there is more of the world than the one we live in. It is a completely different thing to immerse yourself in those different worlds and experience them. By experience I mean in a way that is much more than taking an Instagram photo at a historic site. Experiences such as homestays, volunteer programs, and random cultural exchanges with residents. Visiting the 13 very different countries allowed me to gain a more accurate depiction of what culture is and how I experience it.

Interacting with people from different cultures, who look different, speak different languages, and practice different ideas allowed me to be able to look at myself and how I work in the world. It also allowed me to view who I am. Listening to myself explain my life, my values, and why I value them allowed me to reflect myself. I now have a more intact vision of not only who I am, but why I am. I think it is important for everyone to be able to look at the experiences that they have had in life and ponder how they have shaped them. This inside knowledge of oneself can be the catalyst for growth and/or change in the right direction. It has certainly been both for me.

There is no one interaction that lead to the transformation that I had while studying abroad. I have had so many worthwhile experiences while on this trip that I’m surprised I can even recognize myself. I will say that the relationships that I built while on the trip are what allowed me to branch out and view the world in the way that I did. I have never in life been surrounded by a group of individuals so culturally sensitive, accepting, and outgoing in all my life.

I think the main reason that I put so much value on the relationships that I made on the trip is because I constantly felt challenged. Challenged in a way that allowed me to then go reflect and challenge myself. Not only about the experiences we were having in country, but with the experiences I have had in the past and may have in the future. We invested so much time in each other that I don’t think I would have grown at all without them. Constantly challenging my own thoughts, actions, and reactions allowed me to recognize and asses my own biases as a man, as an African American, and as an American.

Going in to this trip I was someone who knew I had biases, but I thought of myself as someone on the low extreme of that spectrum. As time passed on this trip I was able to recognize that I may have had fewer biases than the average American but not as a world citizen. I cannot say that this trip eliminated all biases that I have because that would be a lie. But I can say that I am working on being more open to recognizing my own biases and that of others.

Semester at Sea allowed me to look deeper into myself. Look at my past and connect it to who I am today and where I want to be later. I have looked at my career goals and gained more motivation to become a child and family therapist. Psychology has always been something that grasped my attention, but I never knew why. The relationships and experiences that I had on Semester at sea allowed me to look deep into my childhood and the troubles that I had in it. I now have a clearer image of why I am so passionate about being able to aid the upcoming generation.


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Study Abroad Step reflection

Brian Hood

Step Reflection

For my project I took a study abroad to Australia to take a Human Societies and environmental course. This was to cover studying the interactions of The Australian people and their relationships between each other and their ecosystem with a focus on sustainability, wildlife, and aboriginal culture. Some activities we did were conduct organism studies on the Great Barrier Reef, on wild koala populations, and ecosystem restoration on aboriginal reserves. We met many professionals and natives that knew much about various topics from agriculture to government.

I Learned that Australia has many of the same issues that America currently has. Understanding how to conduct lasting change in policy and in societies behavior takes the cooperation of lawmakers, citizens, and scientists to solve problems and improve the increasing environmental hazards that modern society faces. When conducting surveys on the reef and in the outback we got to experience first hand how data is collected and most importantly how that data is then analyzed and used to make changes. For example, when we surveyed fish and ocean wildlife, we then could use that data to determine the health of various zones on the reef. We had debates after the fact to try to figure out what changes could be made to improve it and how to make compromises with invested groups.

Something that changed my view of myself was the fact that moving around and having all these very different experiences allowed me to become more confidant in my ability to adapt to new situations. I now am more comfortable traveling and have the tools to engage with very different cultures and people. Australians, although having a very similar culture to Americans, are different in certain ways as well. These differences that I was able to see allowed me to learn how to change my own behavior to adapt to their culture and show respect. I think this is very important in traveling to full embrace the new culture. I had the opportunity to live at a family farm for several days and work on it, helping to feed animals and several other things. This I would never have done in the Us but it gave me perspective on why Australians thing a certain way.

For this course, our group travelled up and down the coast of North Queensland and stayed in many forms of housing fro tents and hostels, to apartments and hotels. In these living quarters we stayed in close proximity to each other for a month and became very good friends which helped when we had to work on projects together. There were many group exercises that allowed me to brush up on my teamwork skills. In college we don’t often get those opportunities so this was important because in the work environment, collaboration is common and it is really important to know how to do it efficiently and effectively.

The aboriginal experience was one very similar to the struggles African Americans and native Americans face in America. The history of violence, enslavement, and racism is something I saw a lot of in country and shed light on some issues that need to be fixed in the US. The aboriginals explained to us their culture and their deep connection to the land that was uprooted when white settlers cam and was very moving. It affected me greatly and made me want to be involved more in human rights issues that plague society today. It gave me a new outlook on how I view people in general.

This project allowed me to experience a country that I never would have otherwise been able to. The work, science, and social skills that I gained will be quite useful in my future career and will give me a heads up on my resume. Meeting all these wonderful people and witnessing some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world has been life changing and I will definitely head Back to the Outback in the future.