The ability to study abroad is an experience that can be infinitely beneficial in a student’s life, development, and education. Providing a student with the opportunity to travel and live within a different culture and custom is crucial to expanding their worldview and shaping their understanding of people by allowing them to step outside of their comfort zone. Here are some immediate benefits, but they, of course, do not start and end with this list:


Work on Language Skills

Studying abroad is a perfect place to put into practice language skills that you have been developing within the setting of a classroom or textbook, or possibly even pick up and begin learning a new language. Oftentimes, study abroad programs will even have classes that will cater to your skill and knowledge level so you can get as much out of the experience as possible, and full immersion into a foreign speaking country will do more than any classroom can to develop your skills.

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How Understanding the Human Microbiome is Helping Us Understand Health by Marjorie Abalos


What are microbiomes? Within our body, we house a wide range of micro-organisms. These include bacteria, the single-celled organism commonly known as archaea, fungi, viruses, and other microbes. The collection of all these organisms are called the human microbiota and can affect a huge array of bodily functions and the way a body works and presents.

The human microbiome has been quite the hot topic for research lately. Scientists and medical researchers are still working to understand the breadth of its function, however, some of the interesting conclusions that this has produced is the potential that the microbes inside us could be the cause of “a plethora of conditions, from obesity to anxiety.”

Although this may sound alarming–the prospect that there are bacteria inside of your body–this is often misconstrued. Bacteria outside of the body can lead to serious infection, however, the bacteria inside of your body can instead help to protect against it. There has been research done that suggests that animals without or with less gut bacteria have a higher risk of serious infection.

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Across the world, a shockingly high number of children are living in less than adequate conditions, and therefore being stripped of their childhoods and happiness.

According to a new report by Save the Children, a nonprofit organization that promotes children’s rights, provides relief efforts, and helps to support children in countries that are developing, over half the children in the world are at risk of poverty, conflict, and gender bias. This is a huge number, one that is undoubtedly dismal and discouraging. How can this shocking statistic be remedied?

The expanded report reads that 1.2 billion children are either at risk for poverty, conflict, or gender bias. 153 million children are experiencing all three, simultaneously. These factors are not only robbing an increasingly high amount of children of their childhoods but additionally impacting their futures and making it harder for them to move forward. Many of these children are growing up in war zones, and thus at risk for marrying very early, malnutrition, child labor, and other factors of great detriment.

This organization, Save the Children, also created an index to rank countries where children were at their highest or lowest risk. They did this to find trends in hopes of remedying this world-wide problem.

The report notes some fascinating yet surprisingly dark statistics. The United States, in particular, was ranked 36 out of the 175 countries indexed. This moved it up, compared to the rankings the year before, and it sat right between Belarus and Russia. The expansion of this statistic demonstrated that children in the United States were victims of extreme violence, with the homicide rate at the same rate as Yemen, Afghanistan, North Korea, and the Philippines. The report also recorded that over 6 million children in the United States live in deep poverty.

Niger, Mali, and the Central African Republic were at the bottom for the countries where children are seen to be most at risk. At the top, ranking as the best places for children, were Singapore and Slovenia, and then Norway and Sweden coming up close behind. I think, if these statistics and rankings make anything clear, it is that we need to work together to make the world a better place for all children and give them their childhoods, securities, and the prospect for a good and safe future.

How a Global Health Revolution Formed in Response to the Ebola Crisis

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Ebola is a disease that is infectious and, more often than not, fatal. It is marked by severe internal bleeding and fever and can be spread through contact with body fluids of those who have been infected. First, Ebola strikes the immune system, then attacks all of the body’s vital organs, resulting in extreme internal hemorrhaging. The Ebola virus was first discovered near the Ebola River in the country that is now referred to as the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 1976.

On August 4, 2014, the Sierra Leone government ordered over 7 million citizens to seek shelter at home and pray in response to the Ebola epidemic that had broken out. The government implemented temperature checks for people at roadblocks, set up isolation wards, and even instated emergency burial team. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and even after these measures were taken the disease still went on to claim over 11,000 lives. The government and world did not have the research to successfully combat this disease before it became an epidemic.

This May, however, there has been an outbreak of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, yet for the first time, global health experts were optimistic. After the last epidemic, they developed an experimental vaccine and were empowered by a global health security revolution, perhaps giving them a chance to combat Ebola.

Peter Piot, the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, helped identify multiple strains of the Ebola Virus and worked with a team of scientists to investigate the outbreak. This team was effective in stopping the outbreak in Yambuku; their methods included tracing those who had been in contact with suspected cases and isolated those showing any symptoms. We were finally starting to make successful steps toward working toward eradicating the Ebola Virus, with optimism for the first time in 40 years.

The world’s attention was keyed in on this deadly virus because of the outbreak, but only after American Ebola patients first started showing up. This signaled that Ebola was a global pandemic, and thus needed to be met with global action and efforts. This resulted in testing an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by Canadian scientists, which was found extremely effective.

Finally, Ebola was being combated on the global level that it deserved to be, at last providing some closure and hope to Ebola patients and their families. It changed the way that the world deals with epidemics, particularly by serving as a retrospective model of how countries working together on a global level are more likely to solve a health crisis than just individual nations or institutions.

The Social Good Coming from Black Panther: Increased Tourism to Africa

Already, genetic testing services like 23&Me and Ancestry have encouraged multi-ethnic people to learn where their ancestors came from by testing their DNA and rediscovering parts of their lives they never knew. Many of the African-Americans who went to see Black Panther were newly inspired to explore the great continent and have purchased tickets and tours from where their DNA tests say their ancestors came from. From Ghana to Kenya and from Egypt to South Africa, increased tourism benefits everyone, from the tourists who enjoy an enthralling trip to the vendors and tour guides who make good money.

The Social Good Coming from Black Panther: A Boom in African Goods Sold

Thanks in great part to social media, African creatives have found themselves a huge market for their goods in the US. Websites like Etsy, eBay, and even Instagram and Pinterest with their new “Buy Now” buttons have renewed public interest in purchasing traditional African clothing, jewelry, soap, hair products, and more directly from African craftspeople and tradespeople. Prior to the internet, African goods had to go through brokers and large distributors, but today, the internet has decentralized much of the process. The UNITY Phase from the mid-90s is back in full force, but this time with better trade practices and authenticity.

The Social Good Coming from Black Panther: STEM Programs in Compton

The little sister of T’Challa, the main character, is Shuri, a teenage tech genius who is responsible for developing the super suits, communication devices, weapons, and medical equipment that makes Wakanda so powerful. Countless thinkpieces, op-eds, and studies have demonstrated that pitifully few women and non-white people are employed in STEM, particularly in computer programming, so Disney took some of its box office treasure and invested it back into cities so that students who were inspired by Shuri to study technology had the opportunity to do so. Disney gave the Boys and Girls Club of America a million dollars to start a fund for black students in STEM.