“Those who do not move, Do not notice their chains.”
Words from Aleka Simmons, Our 2019 Passport Support Scholarship Recipient
Aleka Simmons is a Detroit native & currently a Junior at Michigan State University majoring in Child Development
From the moment I started my college career at MSU they have spoken about Education/Study Abroad every chance they could. My freshman year I met a senior named Janae and she also stressed the importance of studying abroad to me and to the black community as a whole. So I knew it was something I wanted to do, so when the time came I started to look up good programs specifically in the College of Education since that is my major. I found one that was very hands-on in terms of being able to actually teach in classrooms. And it was a culture I essentially did not know anything about. That is how I picked Japan for my first study abroad trip!
I knew my family really wouldn’t be able to help much so, I started to fundraise and I came across this Passport Scholarship by Wanderlust Revolution through Facebook. I had never flown internationally or at all for that matter and I was very surprised at how much a passport cost. This scholarship helped me so much because I was able to be reimbursed for the passport I bought and was able to use that money to purchase an extremely needed suitcase and other travel necessities for my trip, that otherwise I would have been stressed about how I was going to buy it. But aside from the financial help, this scholarship gave me I was also able to join a powerful movement and meet such a great person. Sirrita has been so inspiring and offered help and assistance during my pre-departure. This is the first I’ve heard of a movement like this for Detroit youth and I am so ecstatic because it is so needed. Now that I have been abroad I can bring back some of my knowledge and encourage more young black people to go abroad and experience another culture because there is so much more outside of Detroit.
I had an AMAZING time studying abroad in Japan for three weeks. I was able to visit about 9 or 10 different cities while there. And one of my favorite parts about the trip was the intercultural interaction part. When I was able to be actively engaged and working with university students from Shimane and Tokyo Gakugei University. I was able to get more immersed in the culture than I would’ve have been able to do on my own. I made connections that will last a lifetime. I was able to learn about their school system and teach two different lessons in two different schools and visit a number of different schools. Overall, this was an amazing experience that I will cherish and always remember.
For the next 10 years I will have a valid passport that I will use to continue my traveling journey because Japan is only the first stop. And it is all thanks to Sirrita and Wanderlust Revolution and I can not stress enough how grateful and appreciative I am for being selected for this scholarship.
Thank you so much!