PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Studying abroad in college is something that I dreamed about! I am a first generation college student and money does not come easy for myself or for my family. I wanted to study abroad because I had never been out of the country before and I knew that it would be an amazing experience. I am a Journalism and Electronic Media and Sociology major and I hope to pursue a career in magazine. I knew that if I had the opportunity to study abroad I would be able to gain more experience in my field and build my resume.
Studying abroad is very expensive and even though I knew it was something I wanted to do, I also knew that I lacked the financial means necessary to make this trip possible. I constantly tried to persuade myself, “Malak you are too busy to make this happen. You know you don’t have the time or money so don’t even bother.”
After the first study abroad interest meeting I was determined to make it happen. Everyday I worked diligently into making my dream into a reality.I constantly sent email after email to faculty and people that I knew and asked if there was any way that I may earn a scholarship or fund raise. I probably ended up sending at least 50 emails and still, nothing. I started to apply for scholarships within my college and outside sources as well and I still heard absolutely nothing. I grew weak and disappointed at the fact that I was working so hard and I had nothing to show for it. I also started to have resentment towards people that had their families pay for a $6,000 trip with no hesitation. I was very discouraged and I honestly felt like I wanted to give up on the whole idea.
I applied for the College of Communication and Information scholarship that was greatly dependent on my decision to go on the trip. It was a $2,000 scholarship and I knew that if I received it, I would keep working. I worked so hard on the scholarship application and the email finally came in…telling me that I did not receive it. After I talked with friends and family, I decided to take a leap of faith and commit to going to the trip. I had no financial aid, no plane ticket, no nothing. I continued to work hard everyday and nothing was going as planned. I had received a $500 scholarship and I was very appreciative, but I still had so much more money to raise.
One day, I was on the phone with my mom and she prayed that I would have a financial breakthrough and moments later I received an email stating that someone who had received the College of Communication and Information scholarship decided not to go on the trip and that I was next in line to get the scholarship.I literally almost cried…I probably did though! There were so many times I wanted to give up but I kept pushing and got one of the best experiences of my life!
I ate the best food and drank so much beer during those three weeks! It was an amazing experience and allowed me to look at life at a different perspective. Here I was, in Prague, studying international journalism. That was just the motivation I needed to know that I could do anything if I do not give up!
But seriously, don’t give up! It may not be smooth sailing but things will work out! Look at me..I am posed with a real European peacock