Failure is Not Permanent

Hello Readers-


First off, I would like to thank each and every one of you that’s been following the Yes! Study Abroad journey over the last two years. Whew- time really flies when you’re having fun.

Some of you may know that I set my sights organizing an end-to-end study abroad program this summer to Cuba. Along with my partner, Christie, I worked with an agency to get an itinerary that focused on personal development, volunteerism and cultural immersion; we selected a few students and began to fundraise. Unfortunately, a few obstacles arose, which we could’ve defeated, yet time did not permit.

Ultimately, we had to make the decision to postpone this summer’s excursion until 2018.

For a moment, I was hurt. Especially since so many people had doubted the success of the trip anyway. A part of me wanted to prove them wrong. That I could do it. That these teenagers were mature and ready to open themselves up to an experience that would forever reshape their view of the world. I felt like a failure and I wondered if it was even worth the effort. I gave myself a day to sulk and then my head (and my Facebook wall) was scattered in proverbial sticky note quotes. Literally. 

Don't be afraid to fail, but be sure to fail fast.

Posted by Kierra D'Andrea on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"Whether success or failure, you need to move forward. The momentum is what is critical." Frederique Dam

Posted by Kierra D'Andrea on Sunday, February 19, 2017

 

Outside of those quotes, working in corporate America has taught me that just because you put a lot of effort into a good thing doesn’t mean it will be successful. It’s also taught me that when something falls through, it’s not always a permanent situation. For instance, I write this blog as a new employee for a team that I applied for back in 2015. Over a year later, the same opportunity came around and because I had done the leg work, made contacts and been through several rounds of interview prep, I nailed the interview and accepted the job a couple days later.

I’m saying all of this to say….

It’s not over yet.

I live my life through “I am” and “I will” statements, here are a few of mine below:

I will plan and execute a successful study abroad trip for under-represented high school students during the summer of 2018.

I will have my 501c3 non-profit established by the end of 2017.

I will establish relationships with universities and colleges that award my students who study abroad dual enrollment credits for their time abroad.

I am truly passionate about the life-long success of under-represented students and I will give my all to make a difference in their high education career.

I am grateful for every failure and I will learn from them in order to do better in the future.

I could go on forever, but you get the point…

Moving forward, I would love to have your support as I go on this journey. You all have been awesome to date, but the game is not over yet!

How can you help?

Come and join us for Black History Trivia!

There will be a fun game of Black History Trivia, great food and drinks, and the opportunity to learn more about Yes! Study Abroad and our mission to create global citizens.

Initially we were charging $20 admission to help alleviate the cost of the travel expenses for the kids, but since the trip has been postponed, it is now a FREE event! Can’t get any better than that!

The goal here is to really just get you acquainted with what YSA is all about. The only thing we ask of you is that you RSVP at the links below. See you there!

Travel light,

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Why Yes! Study Abroad is so Important to Me..

It’s quite a privilege to have you reading my words today. Yes! Study Abroad is something I am beyond passionate about and I hope that over time YSA truly serves it’s purpose of motivating students to travel the world in pursuit of their calling.

Allow me to re-introduce myself.. **beat drop**

My name is Kierra and I am the founder of Yes! Study Abroad. I studied abroad twice, Spain for undergrad and Chile in grad school. These experiences literally changed my life. I have a goal to equip minority students with the tools they need to study abroad, live life with a purpose and pursue their passions.

Over time I have noticed that students of color are not nearly as traveled as our white counterparts. This gap automatically puts us at a disadvantage, along with the numerous other reasons we continue to fall behind in employment rates, literacy rates, etc. 

Let me give you an example.. I am currently employed by a Fortune 500 company and the day I began working there, I found out that my manager had also hired another person. Our credentials were almost identical, the only difference really was that he was a white male. We were both fresh out of grad school, we both had limited work experience, and here’s the kicker, we both studied abroad twice. Now, you could say I’m jumping to conclusions by thinking that my study abroad experience put me at parity with him and played a huge part in the hiring decision, but I could just as easily hit you with the…..


Fast forward to now, I continue to come across statistics that make me somewhat angry. 

A 2014 report by the Institute of International Education shows that 9 percent of U.S. undergraduates study abroad. Of that 9 percent, 75 percent are white, 7.6 are Hispanic, 7.3 are Asian and an abysmal 5.3 percent are black. All of this in the face of the growing opinion that study abroad is not only important but also vital in a world that is shrinking and becoming ever more accessible in the face of technology. -The Root

Why is this so? I believe in my heart of hearts that it’s due to a lack of exposure.

It’s no coincidence that my first flight ever was to Barcelona seeing as though my parents haven’t traveled at all. I seriously can only credit God for my love and desire to travel the world and embrace all cultures because no one in my family pushed me to do that.

It’s also is no coincidence that a suburban middle school in my hometown is preparing for a trip to Italy while the predominantly African American schools have staff that don’t recognize what a passport is. **True Story** I went to pick up my little sister from school and since I lost my license, I used my passport for identification. The lady asked me, “what is this,” and why didn’t I have a license. She was so unsure about this form of identification that when my sister got to the office she asked her did she really know me. Mouth. Drops. 

To be upset with her wouldn’t solve anything. There would still be underexposed children. Instead, that added fuel to my fire. We cannot continue to let students of color miss out on the valuable experience of studying abroad. It’s awesome resume help, the best time for you to create who you are, and the most rewarding experience I have come across. Most importantly, it is totally doable! You don’t have to be rich to travel. Your classes and credits will be there when you return, no worries.. Seriously.. I promise they will be waiting for you at the do’

As Yes! Study Abroad continues to grow, my primary goal will be to provide minority students with the solutions they need to be successful on an international platform. My hope is to further level the playing field. My desire is to train up generations of student travelers that raise children who travel the world. 

Join me as I trek forward to change the world by heading over to Instagram and tagging three friends in my most recent post. Together, we can make some serious dents in those statistics above.

Sincerely,

Kierra