I am a First Gen student and the first in my family to leave the country for purposes other than war. Given my background and my family’s lack of money, I felt out of place with the other students, as I was in the minority having not traveled internationally before and not having the money to do some of the things other students were doing. The Study Abroad Scholarship did what it could to mitigate that issue--it gave me the resources I needed to enjoy my time abroad and in Grenoble. It just did not suffice when it came to the trips outside of the city that so many others were more interested in.

I’ve also struggled with mental illness in the past, and I thought it was over, but the emotional strain that studying abroad put on me was real –– especially the reverse culture shock. Not having the family life I was looking forward to upon returning to in the States made me feel like I was suffocating, as the weeks wound down and the imminent end of the program would make me return. This, naturally, is also when the bulk of academic work piles up, and it was really stressful. My GPA definitely suffered, but the opportunity was still very much worth it.