Like a modern-day George Bailey (remember him? From, “It’s a Wonderful Life”) Kia Young couldn’t wait to get away.
It’s not that she didn’t love growing up near Houston or her years studying at North Carolina A&T. It’s just that she knew there was so much more out there.
“I knew I wanted to go to a place that is completely different from the United States,” she says. “So I started with Japan, places like China, Singapore.”
She landed close -- in Thailand -- to spend a semester studying abroad and had the educational experience of her life.
“We went everywhere – we camped on top of a mountain for three days and laid out and watched the stars and I could see the Milky Way and it was amazing,” she says.
Kia was so moved by her experience that, once she returned to Greensboro, she started an organization dedicated to helping other students at America’s historically Black colleges and universities follow in her footsteps because, she says, most of those students haven’t learned how affordable and accessible studying abroad is.
“I’ve literally had to pull out my laptop with some kinds and type it in and say, ‘What’s your major? Filter it, OK, how much are you willing to pay? When do you want to go?’ And show them the plethora of options available to them,” says Austin Ogletree, who followed Kia to Thailand and now leads fundraising for their organization, called “HBCU Travelers.”
But both Kia and Austin will move on, after graduation in May. Kia, to work for Shell Oil in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Austin to work for Microsoft in Los Angeles.
So what happens to A&T’s HBCU Travelers chapter when they’re gone?
Find out in this edition of the Buckley Report.