Finding Passions Abroad

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Traveling abroad is a great way to truly learn more about yourself and others. Students who travel abroad not only gain unforgettable experiences, but many cultivate their passion or even discover a new one! That is what happened to Anyssa Roberts, a junior at the University of Kentucky. Around the same time that I went to Ecuador on my service trip in March, Anyssa journeyed to Paris, France for a Merchandising Apparel and Textiles International Study Tour. During her 9-day stay in Paris, Anyssa and her group had the opportunity to take a unique look at the French fashion market. When you hear “the French fashion market”, you may think of Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton, or Christian Dior; however, the tour that Anyssa and her group went on placed more attention on smaller designers who cater to high-end customers. Taking a less traditional look at the fashion industry in Paris, the group visited places such as the Yves Saint Laurent (YSL), the Pierre Bergé foundation, and Cécile et Jeanne. The ability to visit these kinds of French shops that do not produce luxury brands allowed the group to gain an authentic and organic experience with French fashion that few will ever experience. This rare look at the market sparked a new interest within Anyssa to work behind the scenes of the industry. Instead of just wanting to be editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine, she was inspired to delve further into the industry and start her own business!

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Just a few months later, Anyssa embarked upon yet another adventure in Europe. This time, she flew to Germany on a Discover Germany UK Partner Program. I am sure that you can imagine how difficult it would be for a fashionista visiting Germany (during the Berlin Fashion Week) to concentrate solely on cultural immersion! And so, as any other fashion lover would, Anyssa tried to more involved with related events of the week. Joining the Berlin Fashion Week, however, proved to be slightly more difficult than first expected! Although Anyssa was not able to gain experience with the fashion week, she was able to devout more time to learning about German culture as she continued her studies of cross-cultural management, German language, entrepreneurship, advertising, and politics. The lessons taught to the students in class were later reinforced by day trips around the city, deepening their understanding of the material.

“Very refreshing and interesting” is how Anyssa Roberts describes her exposure to different cultures abroad in 2014. Slowly but surely, Anyssa began to realize that there should be more to a career than a position that allows you to solely satisfy personal desires. As her drive to find a career that would allow her to serve others increased, fashion simply became a hobby. As of now, Anyssa is pursuing a major in journalism and a minor in anthropology to ultimately become an international foreign correspondent to help others around the world.

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Anyssa’s experiences abroad led her to become a well-rounded individual who is concerned about others, independent, and open to life. She encourages other students to also go abroad to gain a better understanding of themselves and others.

Post by Hillary McLean, with subject input by Anyssa Roberts

Photos by Anyssa Roberts

Hillary is an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador. She participated in a Service Abroad program with Shoulder to Shoulder Global. She is studying Dietetics, and she is pre-med.