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2017 International Education Week Essay Contest: Fourth-Place Runner-Up

Thursday | November 16, 2017 | by WES Advisor

2017 International Education Week Essay Contest 4th Place Runner-Up

To celebrate International Education Week 2017, WES Advisor asked readers to send submissions to our annual essay contest.

This year’s prompt was inspired by a quote from St. Augustine:

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

We asked readers to describe in their essays how studying abroad has enriched their lives and expanded their worldviews.

We received a number of excellent submissions, with many of the essays describing positive, eye-opening experiences that emphasized the transformative power of studying abroad. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the contest!

Congratulations to our four winners: Olufemi Erinoso, Chiemeka Donald Ewulu, Ikenna Mbakwe, and Trishnee Bhurosy.

Read the fourth-place essay below, written by Trishnee Bhurosy.

Trishnee, a Mauritian, is working on her PhD in Health Behavior at Indiana University in the U.S.

How has studying abroad enriched your life?

Saying that studying abroad has enriched my life would be an understatement. Working on my PhD in the United States has been an eye-opener. Being on your own in a foreign country forces you to encounter many hardships. Yet every time I have emerged stronger by overcoming those challenges. I hope that any international student who reads my essay will feel motivated to pursue their scholarly goals abroad.

Working with Experts in My Field

My biggest motivation, which led me to apply to Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, was working with my current advisor, Dr. Susan E. Middlestadt. I read her published research projects while I was doing my master’s in Nutritional Sciences in Mauritius. I was fascinated by her work in theory-driven formative research and after collaborating with her for more than two years now, I have been the lead researcher in conducting a salient belief elicitation study among middle-aged women in Bloomington. This has been one of the biggest milestones in my research journey. At Indiana University (IU), I’ve gotten the opportunity to collaborate with researchers, such as Dr. Hsien-Chang Lin and Dr. Krisha Thiagarajah, on analyzing national probability samples using multivariate analyses. I have also presented at national conferences, such as the American Public Health Association and the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Honing My Communication Skills

Being the oral presenter at a national conference is one of the many examples I can cite for honing my communication skills. Since 2015, I have volunteered as a blogger and editor for the Career Services Office’s blog in the School of Public Health. Through leading regular blog meetings, attending events on campus and networking with prospective employers, I have improved both my written and oral communication skills. Teaching a diverse set of students has also enabled me to be more confident in my teaching skills and has prepared me more effectively for a job in academia.

Making Friends for Life

When I came to Bloomington, I felt very lucky to have met really wonderful friends who treat me like family. Most of my close friends are older than me, and their advice and support have been instrumental in achieving my goals. I made some really good friends in my program as well, and their reassuring presence always helps me in overcoming homesickness.

Becoming Independent

Perhaps the most important thing which I have learned by studying abroad is becoming independent. I still remember that moment when I left my family to take my first international flight. Making the journey from Mauritius to Bloomington was nerve-wracking, emotional, and exciting at the same time. Leaving your family and building a new life in a foreign country is never easy. Knowing that I have the ability to do it and finding my own inner strength are the valuable lessons I have learned.

Congratulations again to our 2017 essay contest winners and thank you to everyone who participated!

Be sure to stay tuned the blog, as we will publish the essay contest’s first-place and second-place winners tomorrow!

Are you interested in writing articles about your study abroad experience in the U.S. or Canada for the WES Advisor blog? Sign up for our WES Ambassador Program.


WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.