The Synapse

Updates from the Sciences at Loyola University Maryland

Fulbright Scholar Sandy Abboud, '18 Shares Inspiration from the City of Light

Salut from Paris my fellow greyhounds! I have had quite a busy last year and a half or so as a Fulbrighter in France. I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous community partners, to further explore my interest in public health policy concerning refugees, and I have found a new interest in the transmission of trauma and the enduring impacts of prolonged stress on physical and mental well-being. While most grant periods were cut short this year due to the precarious circumstances that we are living in, I have spent this time reflecting on my experiences overseas as I look forward to my future academic and career trajectories. I have found love and opportunities to grow both personally and academically in so many unexpected corners of the world and I fully intend on working in an international platform to promote health equity and equality around the world.

Some food for thought, delve deeply into your undergraduate studies but do not limit yourself. Ask questions and be critical, we are the individuals so privileged as to receive the blessing of formal education. At the same time, being confined to that which is offered through formal education is an injustice to yourself. There are a plethora of opportunities around Loyola, the United States, and the world. It is the culmination of formal and informal education that fosters life-long learning and curiosity.

And lastly but most importantly, it is a vexing reality that there exist places in the world that simply defy description. Move. Travel. Learn through lived experience. Be open to time, place, and person. Travel doesn’t necessarily require long distances nor is it always pretty. Travel within your own community—travel near and far and let the journey change you. Leave your small marks and be open to the beauty and change that exploring imprints on your own mentality. If I am an advocate for anything, it is to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to students to explore. Seek international opportunities—whether it be for service commitments, studies or fellowships. With every moment of comfort and discomfort on my journey so far, I have grown and truly absorbed knowledge, language, and experience like a sponge. It is these little moments of overwhelming realization that truly transform your mind and being.

Bien à vous tous et toutes,