by Nicole White
Paris, Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Grenada — these cities are places that students read about but rarely have the opportunity to experience.
As I boarded the plane to start my journey to France and Spain with the Early College Program, I thought about what I expected to gain from this trip.
The idea of visiting a different country was incredible in itself, but to really experience another culture was eye opening.
During our journey in Paris, we saw famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa — artwork we had read about now on display before us. As we traveled north to Madrid, we experienced our first bullfight — an event we did not expect to be as gory and brutal as it was. These were activities that many of my peers dream of experiencing, and now we were living it.
I came back to the United States with a different appreciation of the smallest things, like the importance of learning about other cultures. We have so many opportunities offered to us at such a young age that we would be remiss and foolish not to take advantage of them. When life presents these opportunities to me in the future, I will try my very best to welcome them with open arms.
Nicole White is a junior at Carver Early College High School in Atlanta and part of the Early College Program, a collaboration between Atlanta Public Schools and the College of Education, which allows high school students to take college courses and earn college credits before they graduate from high school. Nicole was one of 27 students from the program and the Newton County Academy of Liberal Arts High School to visit France and Spain in July 2010 to learn more about the intellectual and cultural contributions of African-Americans and other people of color in those countries.
This story was originally published in the Spring 2011 issue of the College of Education's Milestones magazine.