In the summer of 2016, the stars magically aligned and I was blessed with a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in a two-week study abroad in the beautiful capital of Sweden: Stockholm. At a time when I thought I would never have the opportunity to study abroad, I was granted the chance to fulfill a dream and I am forever thankful to have had this amazing experience. I participated in a study abroad graduate class titled Theory to Practice in a Diverse and Global Society. The course, offered through IUPUI’s Preparing Future Faculty and Professionals, examined a survey of leadership, faculty, and cultural development theories and practices in an experimental global setting through interactions with local and national government officials, business leaders, international faculty and staff, and faculty and students from Iowa State University. My classmates (Kimberly Burgess and Jantina Anderson) and I also participated in two micro-teaching sessions and mentored the undergraduate students from Iowa State University who were taking two classes for one month. The class was taught by Nashara Mitchell, former Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Development and Director of PFFP.
For my two micro-teaching sessions, I covered two topics that were closely related to what the students were learning and could find useful from a media perspective: Social Media and Global Awareness and Hegemony and Dominant Ideologies. In regard to professional development, I was able to learn more about myself as an instructor, was given the tools to navigate and understand my teaching philosophy, and articulate my own definitions of classroom teaching and learning.
One of the most amazing experiences was having a “Black Girls Rock in Sweden” themed dinner at a small but vibrant bar in a lovely area of town called Zinkensdamm toward the end of our visit. My colleagues and I met two amazing Black women during the first week of our program. One of them moved to Sweden from California three years prior with her boyfriend who was from Sweden. The other had lived in Sweden since the age of three when her family relocated from Cameroon. The other attendee was an Iowa State student. Our in-depth conversation at dinner included discussing racial issues in the US and Sweden, similarities in systems of gentrification, education, citizenship, what it’s like to be Black and abroad, and just common interests. I am still in able to keep up with both Hallex and Detria via Facebook and Snapchat and I can’t wait to see them again (we are trying to make plans☺)!!!
My two words of advice would be: 1) Always make sure that your passport is up to date because you never know when you may be traveling out of the country on short notice. 2) Make a list of foods, places, museums, and eateries that you would like to try in another country and see how many you can mark off of your list, the world is ours to explore!
Quick List of My Favorites:
- Coffee Shop: Wayne’s Coffee
- Museums: Vasa and Nobel
- Part of Town: Gamla Stan “Old Town”
- Bar: The Dubliner
- Restaurant: Strandbryggan Sea Club
- Candy Shop: Caramella