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Student starts initiative for others to go abroad

By Terri Rorke
Photo Editor

For many students, studying abroad seems like a distant dream. But one UNCP student is trying to make the dream a reality for the entire school.            

Debora D. Locklear embarked on an intense study program in Spain for three weeks last summer.                        

She returned with a life-altering attitude, which led her to create a proposal to raise study abroad funding at UNCP.

The proposal

Locklear, a criminal justice major with a minor in Spanish, is in the process of informing the Student Government Association, the Provost and the Chancellor about her proposal.            

She would like the school to raise money and find businesses to match the funds.

At the moment, UNCP does not offer any funding for study abroad programs outside the regular financial aid process.

“When I signed up to go, the first thing I said was, ‘Am I going to have the money?’ But I got a $3,000 loan. Somebody said, ‘You could go get a car, put a payment down on a doublewide.’ But this is a chance of a lifetime. I couldn’t pass it up. I have always wanted to go. I just put it out of my mind,” Locklear said.

Getting the word out

She said she is trying to make it easier for other students to go overseas and to not think small.            

“My main goal is to get the word out. I want everybody to think about it. Don’t stay in Pembroke,” Locklear said.

“A lot of people here don’t venture out, so their kids don’t. They need to get a taste of it. Quit thinking inside the box and go,” Locklear said.

Worth the cost            

Locklear said the trip did create a financial burden for her, but she wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“When I got back, I was red in the checking account. I was struggling for two months. But it was worth it. If I ended up in the streets, it was worth it,” Locklear said.            

“Sometimes I can’t think of the right words, but I am so overwhelmed inside. It brings tears to my eyes talking about it,” Locklear said.

Locklear proposes that the international program coordinator, who oversees the Study Abroad Program, can ask members of companies, communities, professional businesses, board members, committees and even leaders of our state to donate money to support the Study Abroad Program.             

They could also match the donations that the group raises.

This would allow for the dreams of students who wish to participate in the Study Abroad Program to become a reality.

Life changing experience            

“For [Deb], it was obviously a life-altering experience to the point where what is motivating her is the desire for other people like her to be afforded the opportunity to go.

That is what I think is so wonderful about what she is trying to do,” Study Abroad Coordinator Tina Murray said.

Prototype

Murray said Locklear’s proposal is similar to one at Winston-Salem State University.            

“Students asked the general assembly to give them permission to add $2 on to the fees. So each WSSU student pays $2 for a study abroad travel program,” said Murray.

“That generates a nice pool of funds for study abroad … It doesn’t put the entire burden on an individual, but accumulatively $2 per person per semester,” Murray said.            

If Locklear’s initiative gains support, Murray said she will be able to say, “This is important enough to us that we are willing to step outside of ourselves to provide this pool of resources to what we think is important.

“So there are several different ways in which this initiative is important. If it doesn’t succeed, I think it is wonderful that it’s generating conversation.”
 

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Updated: Sunday, November 5, 2006
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