CIEE: Cape Town, Arts and Sciences
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Caroline Sene

Liberal Arts Major(s): Political Science, Sociology
Hometown: Souderton, PA
Experience Time: Fall 2019

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

My experience abroad in South Africa was both incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding. It made me evaluate, more than ever before, the meaning of my identity as a white American and, consequentially, my place in the world defined by that identity. It also provided me with an opportunity to engage with cultures that I had never been exposed to before and to interact with individuals from all walks of life on a continent that I was visiting for the first time in my life.

This experience influenced the direction of my studies, as well as my plans for my future career

How did this experience impact you academically?

The alternative perspective that my professors and classmates at the University of Cape Town provided, as citizens of a country in the global South defined by its colonial past, created an academic environment completely different than anything that I had ever experienced before. This new context made me reflect on my identity as an American student who had learned essentially nothing about the continent of Africa up until this point; it made me think twice about the space I took up in any class discussion or conversation.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

This experience influenced the direction of my studies, as well as my plans for my future career — I am now seriously considering continuing my studies after graduating from Penn State to focus on the politics of inequality throughout the world.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

The enrichment funding that I received from the College of the Liberal Arts unquestionably helped to make my semester abroad possible. The award that I received helped to lessen the financial burden of the experience on my family and allowed me to fully immerse myself in a new culture without worrying about finances. I am incredibly grateful to my donors and to the College of the Liberal Arts for their support.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 
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