HBCUs Abroad Presents: TyLisa
Meet TyLisa C. Johnson
Florida A&M University, May 2017
TyLisa C. Johnson is a junior public relations student at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Fla., from Wilmington, Delaware. Self-proclaimed news-junkie, TyLisa aspires to have an international career in public relations and multimedia journalism. TyLisa began writing at 8 years old and published a book at 16, along with multiple published online articles.
At Florida A&M University, TyLisa is tirelessly involved in the Journalism school, especially for the school magazine: Journey. She began as a featured writer, and continued her tireless involvement, being chosen as Editor-in-Chief for the upcoming school year. She commits herself to international studying, museum-going, activism, traveling, blogging, photography, politics, volunteering and being as happy as possible.
What was your motivation for studying abroad?
I came to college knowing I would go abroad. I specifically only looked at colleges that had study abroad offices. I have always been really into learning new languages and learning new cultures. I never want to feel trapped by American culture, so I spend so much time trying to break free of it. I also feel like it’s my responsibility to be what I call a “world citizen” and to spend time trying to understand the ways in which other people live.
What is your favorite memory from study abroad?
My favorite study abroad memory was definitely celebrating my birthday in Spain. It turns out, my birthday is a national Spanish holiday called Sant Joan, and we brought in my birthday on the Barcelona beach with locals, with fireworks and bonfires on the beach. It was a large celebration all throughout Barcelona based around the idea of renewal. That following weekend we went to multiple bars and clubs, using my birthday as a way to finesse into VIP, and it was definitely a weekend full of memories I’ll have for a lifetime. No better way to turn 20 than to a sunset on the Barcelona beach facing the Mediterranean Sea.
What was the toughest thing about studying abroad?
For me, the roughest part, at the beginning of my time there, was adjusting to cultural norms. A lot of things we are skeptical of in America, or deal with in America, they just don’t have to deal with. Spanish people don’t eat dinner until 9:30/10pm, they don’t have what Americans know as “real breakfast,” my host dad had never seen scrambled eggs. There is a thing called “mediodia,” which means mid-day, where all stores and shops shuts down from about 3pm to 7pm. Also, my Spanish class was 3.5 hours long that began at 9am everyday.
How has your experience abroad helped your personal development?
It has completely changed my perspective on life, on America, on how I see myself and how I plan to live my life. Being in a different culture, I’ve now seen that there are different ways to live outside of the “American” way. I also know myself more now, I know things about myself that I never knew, and I am reassured of things that I knew of myself before.
How has study abroad impacted your global awareness?
From being able to see how other people live their lives I now have more of a comprehensive view of the world. In America we are fed certain stories by the media, and books we produce, and stories we produce, that may or may not be complete truth, but when visiting other countries, you are able to find the small pieces of overlapping information. When you are able to see the overlap, you are able to find the truth about the world and its citizens as a whole, both historically and now.
How has study abroad impacted your education and/or career?
It’s definitely made me much more competitive as someone about to enter the work world. Being able to understand other cultures around the world, and have lived in them and become semi-experts on them will always put you ahead of someone that only has a certain set of skills. Being able to communicate with people all over the world is a skill that will definitely get me ahead of most of the competition.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of studying abroad?
Once you make up your mind to do it, don’t be afraid of it not working out because that will only cloud whether it gets done or not. Be sure to double check/triple check with your study abroad office and keep copies of all your documents. As for entering the new culture, if you enter knowing things will be different; it’ll make it easier to embrace the differences.
Always live like a local, when you have the chance. You can’t fully be immersed unless you embrace the culture first as a tourist, then as a local.
How can people contact you for more information?
I’m always game for helping people through their processes with going abroad! I love it.
Thank you TyLisa!
Want to represent your HBCU with an interview? I’m still looking for lots of stories!
- The Natural Travelista