Greetings from Teneisha Ellis, Program Coordinator
As an African American woman who came from a low-income family, I never thought that traveling outside of the United States was a viable option for me. All of this changed when I received a Rotary Scholarship to live a year in Mexico during high school. This opportunity changed my life--instead of going into the Army, which I had considered the most likely way to get money for college, I focused all of my energy on becoming all that I could be in the field of Intercultural Education. I feel it is my calling to help give others who are under-represented within my community the same opportunity for a life changing experience that Rotary offered me.
Many of the youth within Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I am from are struggling to acquire the tools for success in today’s world. The student population of minorities, disabled and low-income youth face an array of huge challenges, including finding ways to develop global literacy and skills to compete in the globalizing economy.
As the Coordinator of Diversity Programs for Global LAB, I believe that the Cultural Education and Study Abroad Readiness Program offers this population of youth an important boost on the road to becoming productive and informed members of society. This program is inspired by the need within this community to be accepting of others, to learn from each other and to help make study abroad experiences possible for youth who often have lived in isolated, homogenous communities and not branched out to meet and befriend others outside their community, much less considered that they might be able to interact with people in other parts of the world.
After my personal growth and experiences studying abroad first in Mexico and later in in Spain during college, I am a firm believer that giving young people from diverse backgrounds the chance to go abroad can profoundly change their lives in positive ways.