Zyer in South Africa
Traveling is more than an experience for me, it is a way of life. My mother was in the Navy for 21 years, and so life on the go was the only life I knew. I was born in Agana, Guam and had my first passport at six months old. I’ve been to Korea, Spain, Hawaii, Japan, all around South America, South Africa and various states in North America. Of all of my travels, I experienced the most personal growth in South Africa, which was the first study abroad experience I sought out on my own. I spent six months in Henley-on-Klip, a town right outside of Johannesburg, as a volunteer at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
While serving at the Oprah Academy, I was afforded the opportunity to work with the psychologists on the campus and learn more about their role in the girls lives. I lived in-residence with the girls and spent a lot of time planning activities, going on trips, and staying up late to talk with them about their dreams and goals. It was a humbling experience, but I loved being at the school and engaging with the students. The experience has motivated me to continue my work in education as a counselor. In America, students have the opportunity to work with a counselor free of charge. Most times, that is the only formal counseling that they will ever receive. It is rewarding for me to know that I can be the one person to make an impact in their life in this way.
Living in South Africa was an experience that I know has shaped me into the person that I am today. I instantly felt like a part of the community when I moved there. The South Africans I interacted with had a lot of love for their traditions, dances, culture and languages. I wanted so badly to be apart of that culture. In comparison, I felt as if I didn’t have anything, and I was compelled to learn more about my own culture.
Being black beyond borders signifies culturally awareness. It pushes us to explore the world and all that it has to offer. It proves that we are capable of all things. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel around the world and learn about of cultures of the world that are different from my own. However, there are still so many black men and women who have never been outside of their hometowns. My dream is for everyone have the unforgettable experience of going abroad at least once in their life.