News

Published:

June 5, 2018
 
Tagged: Global, Study Abroad

Finding Inspiration Down Under for a Major All Her Own

News


Got to meet some kangaroos at Borongo Wildlife sanctuary.

For Carolina Medina, the semester she spent in Australia was not only a game-changer for her academic and career goals. It was a life changer as well.

Medina, who is 21 and will graduate in December 2018, is in Adelphi’s prestigious Levermore Global Scholars program, which prepares students to be global thinkers and leaders. She entered the University planning to major in organizational psychology, combining her interests in psychology and business. Her Spring 2017 semester at the School for International Training in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, inspired her to change course.

In Australia, she took classes in sustainable farming, which included such excursions as exploring ancient forests and camping with Aboriginal elders.

Also saw the Sydney’s famous Opera House. Fun fact: it’s design is based off an orange peel.

“I found it very interesting, and being surrounded by students who were so passionate about the subject sparked my interest even more,” said Medina. She was impressed by Australia’s reputation as one of the most sustainable countries in the world. After several months, Medina’s mind was made up—she wanted to change her major to sustainability development and nonprofit management.

Her Adelphi adviser, Peter DeBartolo, administrative director of the Levermore Global Scholars program, suggested that she create an interdisciplinary major, which would allow her to keep the credits she had already earned while adding classes in environmental and social issues.

The first member of her family to attend college, Medina acknowledges that her semester abroad, and college itself, has not been without challenges. Medina’s parents came to the United States from Colombia, and she grew up in a Hispanic community in Jackson Heights, a diverse neighborhood in Queens, New York.

“I had not known any people outside my community before coming to Adelphi, and found it difficult to get to know others,” she said. In Australia, she met other Americans studying abroad and lived with a local family.

“I began to realize that my background could be considered disadvantaged compared to that of many of the other students,” she said. “I was lonely, I had no friends, and I had a hard time finding my place.”

Slowly, Medina found her footing. She came to think of her background as an advantage.

Top of Cradle mountain in Tasmania!

“I brought diversity to the program,” Medina said. “I’m now a lot more comfortable with my heritage and background. It’s OK to be the odd one out. And when it gets down to it, there is always going to be something people have in common with each other to form a connection.”

Medina, a city girl, also found that she enjoyed spending time in nature.

“I hiked and went to the beach every day,” she said. “Sleeping outside along the beach was one of my favorite memories, and the slower pace of life than I was used to in New York really appealed to me.”

She also spent time visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef.

Medina’s semester abroad had a number of funding sources: Federal Student Aid; the School for International Training (SIT), which partners with universities to offer study abroad programs; Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a nonprofit organization of which Medina is a part; and a study abroad scholarship from the Levermore Global Scholars program.

Levermore Global Scholars, who are selected based on their academic performance, personal statement and letter of recommendation, take courses on global issues and engage in seminars, cultural excursions, internships, activities at the United Nations, and study abroad.

“Being a Global Scholar has opened doors to things I never knew existed, and to other students who have the same passions and goals that I do,” said Medina.

Her postgraduation plans include pursuing a graduate degree in sustainability development and establishing a nonprofit organization for fellow students of color.

About Adelphi: A modern metropolitan university with a personalized approach to higher learning.

Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves more than 8,100 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

 
Tagged: Global, Study Abroad