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Kultural Kurator - Oshay Columbus

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

Oshay Columbus

She, Her, Hers

Ethnicity - African American

Occupation - Fellow at a nonprofit helping students plan for post-secondary success

Place of Employment: 12Plus

What global experiences have you taken part in when you were a student and/or as a young professional? My global experience includes a trip to London as gift. Then, in 2015, I studied abroad in South Korea.

How has Global Education impacted you and your academic and career choices?

Global Education has impacted my personal and professional choices by exposing me to other parts of the world that I wouldn't have ever imagined myself going to.

What challenges have you had to overcome as you gained your global experience(s)?

Personally, I've had to step outside of my comfort zone and work hard to imagine myself being somewhere else. Instead of giving in to my anxiety about being far from home, I've learned to change my perspective about traveling to other countries.

What or who inspired you to take part in a study/internship/work abroad experience?

When I was little, I'd always looked forward to the opportunity to travel, but I never thought I would be able to go as far as I have. My university's Center for International Education played a key role in helping me realize that going abroad was not something out of reach. When I came back to promote studying abroad on campus, I felt empowered in me role as Global Ambassador. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Kory Saunders for letting me reflect on my experiences abroad and helping me reach my goals, personally and professionally. As a Study Abroad Coordinator, mentor, and friend, she's inspired me to encourage my peers and students to study abroad.

How has your cultural identity impacted your global experience(s)?

My cultural identity has changed the way I think about the world from a global perspective. Going to South Korea and studying in Gwangju, where there weren't many African American women walking around made me stand out. I don't crave attention, but occasionally, I'd receive curious stares and inquisitive questions about my braids. The day I came back from South Korea, I wanted that experience again almost instantly. I realized that there are other people from other cultures who want to know about me as much as I want to know about them.

How has seeing other people of color/diverse backgrounds influenced your decision to study/ intern abroad?

Engaging with people from diverse backgrounds has made me eager to travel more and learn about the values of other people.

Self care is so important as we live our lives and grow in our professions. How do you incorporate self care into your life?

I incorporate self care into my life by reading and journaling. Books and journals have been a constant in my life, and I know that I can always decompress through reading and writing. I also practice gratitude because it can be easy to focus on the little things that may go wrong in our day to day lives, but I believe in the practice of constantly reminding myself that I always have things to be thankful for.

What advice would you give to a future Kultural Kurator as they think about taking opportunities to explore the world around them?

I would, without any hesitation, encourage a future Kultural Kurator to cast aside any fears that they may have about going abroad. Do research, ask questions, read blogs. Also, I know that money is the number one factor for determining one's ability to travel abroad, but I would encourage anyone to look for any resources that will help fund the cost. Most importantly, try to keep an open mind throughout the entire process!

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