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Aspire Alumnae Association

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Lessons Learned from Across the Sea

An Alumnae Returns from Australia

After traveling to Australia for five months through the Education Abroad Program, Ashley Thomas, Aspire class of 2005, feels studying abroad opened her eyes to so many new things in life. The most important thing she learned from her experience abroad is that there is so much more to the world than what we live in our daily lives.

The most exciting part of Ashley’s trip was scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. This was her first experience scuba diving and one she will not forget. She was refreshed by being underwater and completely apart from everything she needed on land. She described being with the different fish and touching the reef as “beautiful and life changing!” Ashley says, “We must step out of our comfort zones, even if that means trying something new or visiting a different city near us.  Also, be very observant of the things and people around you, we can learn so much from just watching and observing our surroundings.”

When arriving to Australia, meeting new people and trying to form new long lasting relationships was a difficult transition for Ashley, as well as conversions with measurements and money. After becoming so used to life down under, coming home was a challenge when it was time for Ashley to return to the demands of the American school system. Compared to America, Ashley explained, things in Australia were a lot more laid back and calm. It was also tough for Ashley to return home to her friends, realizing the world did not stop because she traveled across it!

Ashley advises that when a student has the desire to study abroad, it is never too early to research and plan. All of the things that you need to prepare you for that adventure are out there; all you have to do is find them.  She states, “I feel like it is very important to study abroad during college.  Everyone talks about college being the life changing moment in a young adult’s life, but studying abroad and stepping out of my comfort zone really opened my eyes up to a lot of new things in life.  It gave me more focus and drive.  And it was a very inexpensive way to travel across the world and experience school and another culture!”


Alumnae Spotlight


Alexis Chambers, Aspire class of 2006, is a junior at Ohio University, studying political science with a minor on African American Studies. Alexis is the recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a congressionally funded scholarship program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Because of this scholarship, Alexis will have the opportunity to travel to Morocco, Africa.

Alexis is looking forward to experiencing another country and seeing how other people live. She is so excited to see the beauty of Morocco. Alexis chose Morocco because she wanted to go to Africa and Ohio University happened to have a program in Morocco that matched with her major course of study.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is open to all undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens and studying at an accredited two or four-year University. To be eligible for the scholarship, the applicant must be receiving a Federal Pell Grant and planning to study abroad with an accredited institution or program. You can find out more information by going online to iie.org/GILMAN


Rachel Littler is a member of the Aspire class of 2005 and will be entering her senior year at Malone University in Canton Ohio. She is majoring in Middle Childhood Education with concentrations in Social Studies and Language Arts. A part of the Dean's List for all six semesters thus far, Rachel has maintained a 3.97 grade point average. She is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, an Education honor society, as well as Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, for which she will be serving as Treasurer for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year. During the summer of 2012, Rachel went on a service-learning trip to Guatemala through Malone University as well as a mission trip to New York City, with the church she attends while at Malone. This summer Rachel took courses in addition to working at Memphis Kiddie Park. 

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