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    Posted March 15, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    High Off Life

    Tell us your storyHello Mrs. Obama

    This is Ashley McDonough, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, sociology minor attending the illustrious Howard University. I am currently studying abroad in Granada, Spain thanks to the assistance of my University and my family, and I must say I am simply having the time of my life. I’ve been in this country for about 3 months so far, and I feel as if I learn something new everyday. I mean the culture is so pure and beautiful. I’ve always had a deep admiration and desire to learn about many cultures being first generation American; I feel I have a duty too. My parents are both of Caribbean decent and I have lived what some may call a very Caribbean childhood, which I loved. Although I didn’t get all my wants, I was always happy. My parents both tried their very best, and I will forever be grateful for it. My parents played a great role on my wanting to study abroad. I have been blessed with so many opportunities throughout my 19 years and I feel that I have to take full advantage of everything thrown my way, because my parents, and ancestors before me weren’t as fortunate. The belief that my parents sent me to a country to study abroad, that they never even got the chance to visit motivates me even more. Studying abroad is an amazing experience, and if given the opportunity any, and everyone should take full advantage of it. I’ve learned so much by my fellow members in my program coming from all different parts of America. Studying abroad forces you to interact, break out of your shell and fully immerse in an entire new culture. The fact that I have made lifelong friendships in another country is surreal to me. The Spanish language is complex, however beautiful. I’ve learned customs, dishes, clothing, dances….I’ve met strangers, exchanged childhood stories and secrets….I’ve sung songs, danced dances and fully committed to what it is to be a Spaniard. This experience has taught me to live life and love it unapologetically. Throughout my time here I have decided to document my trip and I turned it into a YouTube docu-series entitled High Off Life by Ashley Milani. My primary reason for creating this series was to inspire my fellow Howard University students to take advantage of this opportunity right at their fingertips. According to Ms. Aikens, Howard University coordinator, only 2% of students take advantage of it and personally I think that number is absurd. Being an African American at a historically black college with such intellectual moguls in the making, I feel my institution would have higher numbers than this. African Americans in their entirety sadly enough don’t take advantage of opportunities’ and this needs to change. If my docu-series inspires one person to break out of their shell, and experience this life changing moment for themselves, than I will feel accomplished.

    I am honored to call my president an educated African American man with a beautiful African American educated woman standing by his side. To witness love, determination and success as, you and President Barack Obama personify, this simply motivates me to strive harder and stay determined. Studying abroad, and my self-made docu-series is simply a stepping-stone in my path to success. I encourage all college students to study abroad. It teaches you self-discipline, educates you on an entirely different culture all while having fun and inspiring one to live life. I don’t know if you will ever read this, but if you do I just want to say thank you for all that you and President Barack Obama have done. Throughout this crazy world we live in, I know often times people need someone to blame and often times the one accused is far from the problem. Regardless of our American situation, I have witnessed first hand all that you’ll have done and I’m proud to say my first vote ever in my 18 years of life , was for President Barack Obama. You are truly an inspiration to woman everywhere Mrs. Obama. You have been one of my idols and reasons to keep going, continuing to have courage and hope that I too , can someday change the world. Thank you.

    “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” – MICHELLE OBAMA
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