Tricia Castro is one of our Arts Global Scholars, a scholarship program available for Bachelor of Global Studies students. Tricia went on the Washington & the World Study Tour and shares the highlights of her experience.
I researched Monash’s study abroad programs early on in my first year as a Global Studies student. Not only was I advised to prepare early for study abroad plans, but I too had a personal preference of researching and preparing early on; it made me feel calm about what exactly I wanted to do, and how I was going to achieve it!
After looking through the long list of units that can be studied abroad, and possible partnerships with universities, I decided that I was more comfortable with a short-term program. I came across the unit title and I knew straight away that this was the one I wanted to strive for. I have always been interested in a career in international relations, and after reading the synopsis for the tour, I was excited at the amazing opportunities it was going to offer me in making that goal a reality. Despite this interest, I have never really been exposed to the actualities of the field, nor the huge array of occupations it entails.
I have been exposed to a wide array of opportunities for my career development given the networking opportunities the unit offered
I was lucky enough to spend around one month in total travelling around the US due to the opportunity of being there for my 2-week study tour. I began my trip in Boston, strolling through its vibrant CBD for a day, and crossing over the Charles River to Cambridge. Visiting Harvard and MIT is undoubtedly in my top 5 experiences! Not only did it feel surreal being in such prestigious universities, but realising all the well-educated, world-changing individuals whom it has produced has inspired me to be vigilant and excel in my own studies. Staying in the Big Apple for one week also features in my list as it has always been a dream of mine to experience the NYC life! Moreover, my visit to the United Nations Headquarters definitely invigorated my desire to work, and have a career in diplomacy and international relations. There was a great sense of honour in walking through the chambers, and soaking in the atmosphere where world leaders decide on worldwide issues. Then, I experienced the local interstate train system and took an AMTRAK to my key destination, Washington, D.C.
The two-week intensive unit was incredibly rewarding both personally, and academically. Two-weeks may seem like a short period of time for those who are familiar with semester long exchanges, but I can honestly say that it was a very eventful and unforgettable two-weeks! I had the opportunity to live in a dormitory of an American University, essentially stepping into the shoes of a local American university student! Living on campus of an internationally renowned university was an experience in and of itself. It was so great to have the bond that our group shared, whether it be through our communal travels to and from site visits, or the numerous games nights held at the common rooms.
Academically, the content, lecturers, and guest speakers were simply outstanding. It was an honour to hear from academics and policy makers in the field, gaining insight into its actualities. I have been exposed to a wide array of opportunities for my career development given the networking opportunities the unit offered. We definitely learned to live, and experience DC as locals, after having ticked off all the key monuments and sights, eventually becoming Metro experts! It is an experience that I continue to reflect upon frequently because of the impact it has had on my independence as a student, and a 20-year old in general! Not only has my interest in the international relations field been solidified, but so have the friendships that I established through the trip! I look forward to my next study abroad experience as my first definitely was remarkable!