HBCUs Abroad Presents: Domonique

Meet Domonique Ousborn

Richmond, California
Howard University, May 2016

     What was your motivation for studying abroad?

     My motivation for studying aboard was to receive the required foreign language credits. As transfer student, many transfer with the hopes of completing their degree in two years. In my case I needed more required classes then I had financial ability to complete in the two years. I felt that if I make the sacrifice to study for five weeks in the summer that I would be able to graduate on time, two years. Now completing the program I am eligible to graduate in two years.

     What is your favorite memory from study abroad? 
     My favorite memory from my trip was our first excursion. As a group we embarked on an adventure that tested our communication and team-working skills. At the mountain peak, we had to cross a swinging bridge to arrive at 3 zip-lines from various mountaintops.  I don't know which was scarier, the swinging bridge with hesitant students learning to explore their limits or the zip lines with over a 500foot drop. 

However, it was the process (of hiking) that resonated with me. In life there are many different roads to travel to accomplish a desired goal. Starting out with the group, the trek up the mountain became difficult. After many stops I saw myself in the back of the pack. A few new friends, a tour guide and myself, motivated each-other to preserve forward to the top. As time progressed I looked around and it was the tour guide and I alone. The tour guide  then suggested two options. First option, longer distance yet was easier to climb or shorter distance yet difficult to climb. Choosing longer distance yet easier to climb, the tour guide and I progressed forward. After many twenty minutes of serene, I heard in the distance the faint sound of laughter. I then screamed “Im on my way!”.  With high hopes of returning with friends, the last and final step was to cross the swinging bridge.  Only thing that separated me from where I was to where I needed to go was the bridge. Ha! Life can come full circle. No matter which path you take, there is always a new obstacle to tackle. Crossing that bridge was removing me from my comfort zone and crossing over in the land of unlimited opportunities. That’s what the study abroad program was for me. Crossing over in the land of unlimited opportunities.

What was the toughest thing about studying abroad? 
   The toughest thing about studying abroad was the language barrier I would encounter. My Spanish is not as polished as I had wanted it to be. However, with the cards that were dealt I made the best out of the experience. Hesitant at first to have conversations with the locals I stayed in the back or asked a friend to translate for me. 
Yet, it was my roommates enthusiasm to learn the language that rubbed off on me to build my self-confidence to try and hold a conversation with a local. I would start with simple sentences and then built up a few sentences. Practicing in our afternoon language classes and moving to the front to make conversations. I had faced my hesitations. 

  How has your experience abroad helped your personal development?
    The abroad experience has helped my personal development but challenging me to journal daily. This journal was to be written in Spanish then recited to your class each Thursday. At first I felt the journaling was filler work, something to keep us busy when not in school. However, after reading the journal in completion at the end of the trip it felt like a roadmap through my journey. It had high and low moments. Experiences I had forgot happened and insight or questions answered when I felt puzzled. Currently, I try to journal at least once a week. Spending thirty minutes with my journal, a quiet area and departing into my thoughts has been the greatest lesson learned. 

     How has study abroad impacted your global awareness? 
   The study abroad has impacted my global awareness by challenging me to appreciate my surroundings. My program had many different challenges, from limited water supply to locals who were unappreciative of darker colored individuals in there community. After returning home I started to conserve water more. Becoming mindful of wasteful usage of water and providing patience with individuals who needed help or assistance. 


How has study abroad impacted your education and/or career? 

The program has impacted my education and/or career because now I see a greater need for psychological counseling in other countries. Looking into internships in other countries that need mental health services, was first on my list upon arriving home. The last thing many individuals in third war countries seek are mental health services. Conclusively, I feel in time I want to travel the world and provide free mental health services to the less fortunate. 

     What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying abroad? 

    HAVE FUN! Step outside of your comfort zone and dive in. Stay true to yourself and go into each experience with an open mind. Their will be many high moments and a few low moments. But through it all it will the best experience of your life. 


How can people contact you for more information?
Twitter: @Missdomonique
Instagram: @Missdomonique

Thank you Domonique!
Want to represent your HBCU with an interview? I’m still looking for lots of stories! Contact Me!

- The Natural Travelista