Study Abroad: Study Abroad Profile: Zuwena Plata '13
The senior biology major spent her study abroad semester in Barbados, where a plethora of wildlife and environmental activism made it the perfect place to study biology and some of its real-world applications.
Why did you chose Barbados?
Since my family is from Trinidad and Tobago, I figured it would be interesting to experience what it would be like to attend an academic institution in a Caribbean setting that I was unfamiliar with. This is especially the case as Barbados is generally not a country people associate with studying abroad. I figured it would also be a great place to explore, as the religious and racial make up is a lot less diverse than what I am accustomed to in the United States.
What did you learn outside of the classroom?
I learned that the way of life in Barbados is "work to live, not live to work." I learned that people in Barbados tend to take things much easier and deal with issues as they arise rather than constantly being worried about things that may or may not ever happen. Overall, it allowed me to learn to relax and not worry about every little problem that I have.
What is the most surprising thing that happened to you there?
The most surprising thing that happened to me while I was in Barbados was a random lady at a bus stop giving me money. She overheard a conversation I was having with a friend about how I was going to budget my money so I could feed myself for my last week abroad and still be able to enjoy various activities. As she handed me the money, she said that I reminded her of her granddaughter and she wouldn’t want her granddaughter to have to worry about food if she was somewhere else. As I thanked her, I was amazed at the kindness of this woman. It reminded me that there are kindhearted people everywhere and that these moments serve as a reminder to be the best person one can be.
What did you bring back?
I brought back the desire to see the world and a more positive outlook on life. Being abroad gave me better idea of what I want to do with my life and how I want to do it. It allowed me to realize that while science is important to me, so is travel and learning about different cultures.