In honor of Black history month, I want to share the journey which led to me living abroad in my country of origin.

My family roots are tied to the country of Cameroon, and from before I was born, my parents have been intentional with connecting me to my Cameroonian heritage. There were signs of my linage and culture all throughout my home, from the decorations on our living and dining room walls, to my father’s accent, to music and conversations in French. They made sure that I was connected to my family overseas by taking me to Cameroon three times over the course of my childhood. From each experience, I learned a little bit more about myself and my family. I am originally from St. Louis, MO and my family and I moved to South Florida in 2010. I have traveled to Cameroon three times in my life to visit family. My first trip to Cameroon was a few weeks before my 2nd birthday, and I had my birthday party in Douala. Also, throughout my childhood we traveled frequently to various countries and states including France.

When I first started college, I decided that I was interested in improving my French language abilities and studying in a French-speaking country. However, Cameroon as an option never occurred to me until I discovered a program for the country that was offered through my school. When I discovered that was an option, I felt almost immediately that this program was created just for me.

Through this study abroad opportunity I was able to not only return to my country of origin, but to learn there and take classes in various aspects of my favorite subject areas, including foreign language, social change, and the arts. While there, I gained more knowledge about the Cameroonian people, my grandparent’s tribes, and my family who I was able to connect and reconnect with. This experience was priceless, and my life will never be the same because of it. To learn more about my experiences while studying abroad, check out my travel blog The Lovely Adventures of Lydia.