Name: Naomi Bullock
Hometown: New York City, New York
Study abroad semester and location: Prague, Czech Republic Spring 2013
What were the three most important things you packed in your suitcase and why?
I couldn’t leave without my workout gear; I knew I wanted to work on my fitness even overseas. Next, I had to have my artwork and doodles from home because if I don’t make the space I’m living in mine, I can’t feel comfortable. Lastly, I had to have my photos of family and friends from home to remind me of all the good things I would have waiting upon my arrival.
What was your favorite place in your host city/country?
Letna Park hands down. It is the most amazing place I’ve ever been. I blocked off 5 days and explored a new section of that park everyday. Phenomenal.
What was the best meal you had abroad?
The Czech people make very hearty meals which compliments the beer culture so a crisp Pilsner with some beef goulash and dumplings would always hit the spot, especially if its cold out.
What did you miss most from home/Beloit?
I missed the Beloit Beloiters, and all that that implies.
What was your proudest/most exciting moment abroad?
My proudest moment had to be when I was finally able to order without having to point at the menu!
What did you bring home as a souvenir?
The thrift stores were AMAZING out there so all my thrifted goods I consider to be my best souvenirs.
How has your study abroad experience affected your identity as a minority back at Beloit?
I feel like I have had the privilege to become even more cultured than I ever thought I could. I feel a new inclusion: I get to look back in retrospect and say “Yeah, I studied in Europe.” It’s a great feeling to know that I worked hard to make my financial circumstances so that I could have such an experience.
How did your identity as a minority influence your experiences abroad?
For the first two weeks in Prague I saw not a single black person. I was the sole individual of color in my program and what seemed to be the city. I was constantly stared at by young children with wonder and strangely enough it felt fun to be something so interesting and new to them!
Why was it important to you, as a minority student, to study abroad?
I do not believe that minorities are afforded the same privileges as majorities in life and so, taking every opportunity presented is key to propelling one’s personal knowledge and excelling. It was important for me to educate myself through this experience so that I could demonstrate that I am without a doubt on par and as capable as my fellow colleagues who may not live under the same circumstances as me.
Some words of advice for other minorities who want to study abroad:
Firstly, if the opportunity is present, take it. Take it without question. Secondly, make sure you really immerse yourself. It is a once in a lifetime experience to do during that 4 years of college, as a college student. Traveling is different as an adult and the experience is so unique when taken in your prime here and now.