Study Abroad Ambassador - Hunter D. Henderson

Trying out traditional attire Growing up as an inner city youth on Hilltop in  the beautifully diverse Tacoma Washington I have seen and heard about a lot of things going down, and I have also had the opportunity to participate in said happenings. There are a plethora of terrible things I could list about growing up in low income neighborhood. But one of the more positive happenings that commence in the hood is the interracial interactions! Being born and raised on the Hilltop has afforded me many opportunities to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds, which is awesome. Because being an inner city youth going to other countries and traveling is something you dream of in the hood it is not a common reality; but then again neither was going to college twenty years ago either. It was a very bittersweet feeling; while on one side I got the chance to directly interact with cultures here in America, I also knew the harsh reality of my situation as well, going to another country costs money, and that is something a kid from the hood doesn't usually have. That is why when I was younger I made it one of my life's goals to get education so that I could travel the world.

Upon entering my freshman year of college I felt the trajectory of my life shift. There have been so many phenomenal opportunities to participate in right beneath my nose and I have been seizing them with leisure. Going past the traditional timeline for a bachelor’s degree I have had the opportunity to ask many people about their college careers. One of the most regrettable things that people mention is the fact that they never took advantage of the opportunities, especially the option to study abroad. Because you can always travel but you can only study abroad while you are enrolled in school. So upon enrolling into University of Washington Tacoma I felt the breeze of opportunity surrounding me. Teotihuacan! I saw that there were programs to many different countries out there. But my life’s biggest setback problem has always been monetary. But I said to hell with it I will take my chances, I will apply for scholarships or take some loans, but I will go study abroad. So I applied for two programs, one to Peru and one to Mexico. I was rejected from Peru and accepted into the Mexico program.

My time in Mexico was very fruitful for my life in the long term for multiple reasons. Primarily I feel that it is important that we as Americans are exposed to other ways of life besides what we know here in the states; although I had cultural interactions I had no direct country exposure. Also because I want to be an educator and I feel it is important for all educators to speak more than one language. Secondly, there is a large Hispanic population in the state of Washington and I want to better be able to understand my neighbors.