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    Posted March 16, 2014 by
    Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Why study abroad? Ask Michelle Obama

    Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship assist low income students to Study Abroad

    According to UNICEF,

    “the importance of turning to communities, families and children themselves as proactive participants in the analysis of their own situation and opportunities, in assessing their needs and resources and designing and carrying out solutions, trusting local and traditional methods”

    I believe the importance of studying in another country or another culture is to understand differences as well as similarities. There are many ways to learn about other cultures, however until you actually experience the difference you realize that not everything in media or perhaps even textbooks is completely correct. What is interesting to contemplate is that our countries, America and Australia, are almost the same age and the way we have developed differently is rather fascinating.

    I come from below poverty according to most developed countries nation's standards and thanks to the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, the Pell grant and as a Environmental Protection Agency Fellow I am now studying with a diverse social economic background of students in Warrnambool, Victoria in Australia. Part of the reason I chose to study abroad was for the opportunity to be able to say "it is possible to get out of poverty even if your living conditions are dependent on the government and/or you are disable. It is possible to achieve a global experience and get an excellent education if you try and circumvent all the hurdles with a positive attitude and an ambitious heart. It is possible to pull yourself up out of poverty if you try."

    So many of the students that are studying abroad have a better international understanding than myself. I often ponder about how many choices are made by those with less income that impedes their success and the universal apathy that surrounds those issues. I know that other undeveloped countries have many souls living on less than the poorest in America. Yet, I have met so many from all countries who have made strides against poverty, disable and able, and improved their lifestyle and that is part of the reason I keep trying to improve my living standard. This desire to alleviate my poverty also helps me understand why Africa, India and China also want to "grow up" financially.

    However, as an Environmental Science student my studies ask me to focus on natural resources for the future. My education has raised these concerns; how much fresh water will we have in 2050, how much will technology improve to keep us from being harmed from contaminants‎, how large of a population before our earth's natural resources vitality begins to tip, what natural disasters should humanity take responsibility in preventing, and as a mom what difference can I make now to help the future? These question are often surrounded by economic stability, and whose wealth does the earths resources really belong to anyway?

    I believe that if the United States can continue to work towards global sustainability as a nation we should continue to set example of sharing, preventing pollution, and represent the equality of the old saying "this land is your land, this land is my land." Perhaps our ability to allow immigration and naturalization is part of an example on how to secure all nations with health, education, and sustainability? In my opinion, the gap of wealth and poverty is common in most nations and an issue that can be solved provided optimism of opportunity exists in the heart of mankind. There are excellent models in the world that represent a fair economic base, as developed nations and developing nations those examples would be best placed in the center of a learning model for the future.

    I am currently living in a coastal community in Australia where poverty is not really as apparent as some of the larger cities. The area is primarily a dairy farms in a coastal community similar to farming communities in America that are near the coastline. I am not sure as developed countries if we are enabling government assistance or trying to alleviate the issue. The farming in Australia is not subsidize and taxes are much different, however environmental policies appear to be closely related to government and politics . Can a whole world live off of its own ability to produce or does too much of the world resources already belong to a limited portion of society? That is another reason that I wanted to study abroad to see how other cultures work towards sustainability for all.

    President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are two individuals that have provided a successful role models for middle to low income individuals to secure hope over fear and pursue your dreams to secure a better future. There attitude has been an admirable model for me to continue towards believing and hoping for a stronger tomorrow for humanity and why I have continued to strive to pursue a global education and experience.
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