Interviewing Students Abroad: Finding Community while Abroad
Jaylen, Fall 2023, Florence
November 29, 2023

For my interview I decided to focus on the more underrepresented demographics when studying abroad. More specifically minority groups like and introverted personalities. During my experience abroad I have met a wide variety of people and personalities most of them fitting the stereotypical demographics for countries like Italy. Although they have welcomed me and other minority peers like myself with open arms, I was worried about how I would find community here.
So I wanted to reflect with one of my peers of color, namely, Ashley Garcia Lopez. As a friend I made during the one week travel course that began our journey abroad I noticed we had a lot in common. As our friendship progressed I wondered if she had luck finding a deeper sense of community as I did. So we sat down in her apartment to reflect on what community she left behind to find a new one.

I learned our communities back home were similar, both looking after younger siblings and surrounded by family. Ashley describes how she feels she can be her genuine self around her family. We discussed the fear and hardships that go into leaving the atmosphere she’s known for so long and how it has actually changed her for the better. In the end she exclaims her understanding of other communities along with her own by reaching outside of her comfort.

I am hoping this interview inspires more people who don’t fit the “mold” of certain life changing opportunities like studying abroad. So that they will have the confidence and strength to know no matter how much different you may be there are always people who will see eye to eye with you. Even make you feel comfortable enough to be yourself and call them community as if they were family. The interview video is attached below including the full reflection of how Ashleys life and mind has opened up during the Study Abroad experience.


Written by: Jaylen, Fall 2023 Florence student from Wayne State University. 

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