Call me biased, but when I hear the phrase “study abroad,” I imagine unencumbered undergrads, able to relocate for months at a time. Not 30-something-full-time teachers, who are also in graduate school, with a host of other ongoing, local commitments. Fortunately, this March I will be able to challenge that image, for myself and others, as I join the GCSW for the Learning Abroad UK trip.
To study abroad in the UK has remained at the top of my “bucket list” for many years. As an undergraduate, I did not pursue a similar opportunity because I allowed my anxieties about leaving home and my fear of failure to override my better judgment, a decision I have regretted ever since.
Fast-forward a decade. Studying at the GCSW has helped me to identify the root of my primary professional goal: to facilitate challenging and meaningful conversations. As a LMSW, one setting in which I can see myself pursuing this goal is a hospice – facilitating more authentic and reflective conversations among family members and terminally ill clients as they prepare for their death.
So, this learning abroad trip to the UK will allow me not only to challenge my personal limitations but also to support my professional goal through visiting the birthplace of two large cultural shifts around death and dying; the first hospice and the first Death Café began there.
I’m grateful to the GCSW for helping one of my long held dreams to come true. The college is continually growing and revising itself to meet the needs of its students. To me, one reflection of this is offering brief study abroad options that allow even busy Weekend College students to participate. So, stay tuned. I look forward to posting an update on what I learned and experienced when I return!