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    Posted March 13, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

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    I have done 4 different study abroad programs on 4 continents since 2001. It started in high school when I participated in the Rotary Club's Youth Ambassador Program, studying for a year in FInland and getting to know Europe. In 2008 I did a history-based study abroad through Santa Barbara City College to China and Vietnam, living in Jinan and Hanoi. From 2010-2011 I lived in the "cidade maravilhosa," Rio de Janeiro, studying Politcal Science and History at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro through a program with University of California, Santa Barbara. Last year I was awarded a Boren Fellowship to participate in a Portuguese language program in Maputo, Mozambique, and to conduct my own independent Master's research there. All of my study abroad programs have led to new friendships, new adventures, and more self confident. I have repelled into caves, swam with whale sharks and manta rays, jumped into holes in ice covered lakes, and at least attempted to learn to dance samba. I did all this while learning more about the history and culture of the places I have visited and creating life-long bonds with local and international students along the way to a Master's Degree in Global and International Studies. I also was able to use my knowledge and language skills acquired while studying abroad while interning for the State Department in Timor-Leste. I have now visited nearly 40 countries and hope to continue increasing that number.

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