Chinwendu “Chi-Chi” Maduegbunam

FSU Global Scholar Class of 2018

Chi ChiOne of my goals in life has always been able to travel overseas. I do not have many options or ability to choose where or how I could travel, so my best and only option included studying abroad. I planned on doing this my freshman year by traveling to China for study abroad. However, due to costs, I had to push my goal to the side for the time being.Fortunately, one day I checked my email and seen a new initiative called the "Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship," developed by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the Penn center for Minority Serving Institutions. The main topic catching my eye included the fellowship covering all costs of the program including airfare and travel. I immediately applied because my goal was closely becoming a reality. I applied despite the vigorous application and hoped and prayed I could be the lucky few selected. Out of 180 applicants, I along with 9 other fellows received this opportunity to study abroad in London, United Kingdom.

Before my flight overseas, I only expected to go to class then explore. However, over our time in London, we constantly explored and experienced things unimaginable. The experience indulged us with intellectual conversations, captivating intercultural debates, breath taking scenery and dear hearted memories with my fellows. Only we nine truly know the experience and impact the fellowship creates for students. The difficult part is trying to describe to others the overwhelming amount of joy to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves and lifelong.

After the experience, opportunities kept rolling in to advocate for study abroad and share my experience. On campus, I have done multiple presentations on my experience and helped fellow students with the application process. An opportunity I did not expect to have involved an invitation to speak at the annual CIEE conference, in Austin, Texas, to discuss the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship. I prepared a speech to present in front of hundreds of people, including CIEE staff, college presidents, and fellow study abroad alumni of the CIEE program. From that experience alone, more opportunities have become available and I guess the only issue now is, which one to choose?