My Chance to Bring Home the Gold

Jonathan Boyden Start Date: Dec 6, 2012 - End Date: Jan 10, 2013
  • Florence, Italy

My Travel Story

by: Jonathan Boyden Start Date: Dec 6, 2012 - End Date: Jan 10, 2013
I am a senior theater-performance student studying at the University of Illinois of Chicago. When first attending college, I was introduced to a new world not only for myself, but also for my family. As a male, African American, first generation college student, attending, let alone graduating, college is not a common achievement in my family. At first, my academic goals were to achieve good marks in school in order to obtain a secure job in the future. However, as I traveled further along the road of my college journey, I discovered that life is more than a rigid formula to a successful end result. I learned that embracing life’s journey develops a deeper appreciation for the beauty of people, and relationships with others. As a UIC student, exposure to an extremely diverse student population excited me. It inspired me to delve deeper into learning dynamics of cultural colors.

As a native Chicagoan, I recognize how a fast-paced way of life has affected both the city’s and my individual rhythm. Therefore, I desire to study in the Florentine city environment and enjoy a slower pace of life. I desire to observe how a slower pace affects theater performance, and to appreciate it. I would like to study in a country where reaching the top rung of the financial ladder is not the strongest aspiration one has, but where other values are equal to each other.

I am not certain of what exactly those other values are, but studying through the CAPA Florence program would help support the attainment of this knowledge. I will enroll in an Italian language course not only to better adapt, but also to understand the people deeper by speaking their language. I plan to live with an Italian family to gain a more intimate understanding of Italian beliefs, ethics, and values. It would show me more of the Italian cultural colors through a microscopic lens. These are all factors that led me to deciding on specifically traveling to Florence.

Studying in Florence would mark my first time traveling abroad, which means the world to me. The thought of venturing outside of America thrills me. I believe it is good for a person to shake up his normal routine and seek out and understand other people’s value systems in foreign countries. It allows one to observe nuances in one’s culture which were not noticeable before. As a role model to my younger sister, this opportunity is very important to me because it strengthens my position for setting an example for her.

I was due to study abroad in the fall of 2012, but the lack of funding prevented me from doing so. Because I have one semester left in order to complete my degree, I took this semester off to search for scholarships to study abroad in the spring of 2013. I did this because I am dedicated to enriching my life through this rare opportunity. Studying through the CAPA Florence Program would empower me to finish my degree with a life-changing experience. It also strengthens my influence over my younger sister regarding the significance of exploration. It would show her that she can not only dream big, but attain the resources to bring her dreams to life. I desire to set the trend in my family by setting the sky as the limit. Not only that, but also setting the world as a field without fences, and a rainbow streaming with infinite colors.

My convictions have fueled my efforts towards making my dream a reality. So far, I have been awarded two nationally competitive scholarships along with a study abroad scholarship through UIC. These include the Gilman, CAPA, and Nina T. Shepherd scholarships. Even though these scholarships certainly have placed me closer to my goal, I have not yet crossed the finish line. To win this race, I will need $3500 to ensure that I can travel to Florence on January 11, 2013. This will cover airfare and living expenses. With your help, I can take full advantage of this opportunity and bring home the gold; a realized dream.
  • Florence, Italy