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Study abroad gave alumna new perspective

When L’Oreal Kennedy came to UW, she did not imagine that study abroad would be a part of her education. Today, she is completing an accelerated second bachelor’s program in nursing at Johns Hopkins University, having engaged in clinical internships in St. Croix and the United Arab Emirates. This autumn, she will begin doctoral studies at UW School of Nursing.

Working with children in Namibia Photo: L'Oreal Kennedy

“I knew that [study abroad] was out there, but I didn’t know it was an option for me,” L’Oreal explains.  However, with the help of supportive professors and advisers at the UW School of Social Work, she discovered an exciting study abroad program in Namibia.

While in Namibia, “we saw how social work works in a different environment,” L’Oreal says, “we rode our bikes to an after-school tutoring center in a small township every day and worked as teaching assistants. It was a chance for hands-on application of the skills she was learning in her social work major, and it also convinced L’Oreal that she wanted to study abroad during her graduate studies. “I saw how important it is to get out there while you’re in a learning environment, to meet and develop relationships with local people.”

Taking in the view
Taking in the view Photo: L'Oreal Kennedy

During her nursing program at Johns Hopkins, she engaged in two international clinical rotations. Working directly with medical providers, women, and families in St. Croix and the United Arab Emirates, L’Oreal had the chance to see nursing practice at work in very different cultural contexts.

Now entering the Doctor of Nursing program at UW, L’Oreal sees clear connections between study abroad and her future career. “I’m interested in focusing on under-served populations. [Study abroad] has helped me understand that there’s always another view, something else that I need to consider. I can’t just look at it from my perspective.”