Studying Abroad Opens Up Opportunities
for International Program Coordinator
C. Lakendra Brunston-Parker first got a taste of traveling overseas through the study-abroad program at Lincoln University where she attended. Since that first trip to Tokyo, Brunston-Parker has traveled to Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, St. Lucia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States territories of Guam and Saipan. So it seems fitting that she is program coordinator for Norfolk State’s International Studies and Service Learning program.
“Studying abroad changed my life forever. Living and working outside the U.S. removed a veil from my life that I never knew I wore,” said Brunston-Parker. “I am able to adapt to any and every environment I come across now.”
Her experiences also piqued her interest in other languages. While living abroad in Japan for eight and a half years, she learned to speak Japanese. Brunston-Parker went to Japan as an English conversation instructor and while living there, she completed a master’s degree in international management, focusing on Japan and East Asian business management.
Her world travels have involved conducting research with Aboriginals in Australia. “I learned that their struggle is still in existence and that African-American history is the Aboriginals’ present,” Brunston-Parker said. Among one her memorable experiences was her research trip to Saipan where she interviewed several people regarding the disappearance of aviator Amelia Earhart. “I discovered my peaceful sanctuary there. I never knew a place so beautiful, rich in history—a breathless taste of paradise.”
Brunston-Parker, who is currently working on a doctoral degree in International Business with a focus on South East Asia and the Middle East, urges NSU students to take advantage of the University’s study abroad program. Scholarships and financial aid are available for those who qualify. “I encourage African Americans to study abroad so they can become a competitive force in the job marketplace,” said Brunston-Parker. “Studying abroad looks excellent on resumes and is a benefit when applying to graduate school or to organizations that outsource abroad.”
Besides possibly giving students better positioning for their careers or further studies, the experience can have profound affect in other ways. “It can change your life,” said Brunston-Parker. “It changed mine.”