Pre-Departure Vlog (With A Sneak Peak Of Me Studying For Finals)

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 Hello everyone! My name is Elizabeth Whitmore, and I attend the University of Michigan. I have a major in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience, with a minor in Drama. This summer, I have a wonderful opportunity to study with DIS Study Abroad in Scandinavia. This will be my first time out of the United States, so I’m excited for my first international trip and to explore landmarks I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing online. One thing I’m specifically looking forward to is the study tours that are integrated into my course work. For my Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness course, I will be able to experience Florence, Italy for a week, and for my African American Expats in Copenhagen and Paris course, I will also be able to experience Paris, France for a week. These study tours will give me opportunities of hands-on learning with experts and experience the concepts we read and learn about first-hand. However, I’m excited that I’ll be able to read signs in Paris– all thanks to my French studies in university.

Studying abroad was one of my goals coming into college; it was an experience that people that I talked to regaled as their favorite part of college or wished that they did. The fear of missing out was a factor in pursuing a study abroad experience, but I wanted to experience my academic interests through a global lens, encourage underrepresented students to study abroad through my experiences, and broaden my network by using my interpersonal skills to create diverse and meaningful relationships. As much as I attempt to be liberally minded and garner a global perspective, I’m never going to truly do that unless I take opportunities to take my education abroad. My American perspective will only get me so far; future careers, professional relationships, and the exchange of information all have global assets that if I don’t utilize or expose myself to, I will limit future learning opportunities for myself. Whether it be financial concerns or thinking that their intersecting identities may not be accepted, many underrepresented students think that studying abroad is not a feasible experience. Thanks to FEA donors (and DIS and University of Michigan donors as well) and through recording my experience abroad, I want to illustrate that studying abroad is very possible and you can pioneer a space for yourself without permission. Studying abroad will enable me to form relations with students of diverse backgrounds and experts in fields in which I am interested. My individual skills and the skills of my future roommates and classmates will help all of us acclimate to our life abroad; we will not only bond over common academic interests but also life experiences. Thanks to small class sizes and study tours at DIS, I will be able to have meaningful conversations with experts and  faculty about psychology, neuroscience, or the Black experience. 

When I was deciding on where to go to study abroad, I was not picky about location. Primarily, I wanted to participate in a program in which I could take courses that would count for my major or general graduation requirements at my home institution. DIS offers courses that transfer as advanced coursework, so I pursued it as my study abroad program. Additionally, I will have the ability to talk to experts whose knowledge overlaps with my major and future goals of pursuing medical school. The supportive staff at DIS is also very “first-traveller” friendly, so I haven’t been scared to be overly inquisitive about my future experiences.

Thank you for your time to read this blog and watch my pre-departure video! Please feel free to keep checking in to follow my experience via the FEA website and my YouTube channel : starringelizabeth !

Till I see you in Europe,

Elizabeth☆