Last July, I was sitting in the backseat of my good friend and mentor, Charles Thomas’, car when briefly discussing some of my goals I wanted to accomplish while still in school. I told him that studying abroad was definitely something I wanted to pursue and that I had grown an interest in wanting to visit either the United Kingdom or Israel. Seven months later, I received a phone call informing me that I would be traveling to Israel as a part of an African Americans + African College Leaders Advocacy trip to become young ambassadors for Israel. It was an ultimate shock to realize that here I am, just 22 years old, going half way across the world after just coming up with the thought of it a few months prior to.
I’d applied for the opportunity in early January, and realized that in case I were to get accepted, when i honestly wasn’t, that I’d need a passport. Luckily, thanks to my amazing University and the vision of our president, Dr. Ronald L. Carter, I was able to apply for a passport and get it for FREE. Yes, you read that right. $110 that I did not have to spend thanks to Johnson C. Smith University’s Go Global Passport Initiative (GGPI). GGPI, the free passport program, was created to encourage students to think globally as they take advantage of study abroad opportunities.
Although I did not pay for my passport, I did pay for it to be expedited which was only $60 because of the short time frame I had between late January and early March. I receive it in approximately three weeks and got accepted to go on the trip just days after.
I wanted to find a way to say thank you for the awesome vision Dr. Carter had in creating this program but also show my classmates that utilizing this program is necessary. To say, “HEY!, Who would have thought I’d have my passport, go overseas and not have to spend a dime all at the same time while doing what I love at 22 years old?! It IS possible” So throughout my trip, while knowing I’d need comfortable clothing for the extensive touring and walking we’d do, I wore my Golden Bull Pride just about EVERY. DAY. Any major tour site we went to, I took a photo of myself showing off my illustrious University. It got to the point where others anticipated on what JCSU shirt I was sport that day and even got a request to send some gear to them. They knew that Megan McLean reflected the excellence of Johnson C. Smith and that she played NO games when it came to representing my University. It’s necessary. So without further adieu, enjoy my Golden moments of Golden Bull Pride while in the glorious land of Israel.