Yesterday, students were privileged to hear Candace Doby speak about the value of international travel. Doby, an empowerment speaker who inspires others to act courageously, has spoken to over 6,000 youth and young adults across the southeast in pep rallies, seminars, classrooms, and graduation ceremonies.
Doby didn't study abroad in college. As a black student, she was unfamiliar with other cultures and was not confident that they would be accepting of her because of her ethnicity. It wasn't until Candace was 27 years old that she gained the courage to travel by herself to Indonesia. Since that experience, she has traveled the world -- often solo -- and expanded her self-awareness and understanding of people and culture as a result.
"Studying abroad is one the most valuable opportunities a college student can have", Doby said. "In order to develop the courage needed to cross the bridge of uncertainty, students need to ask the right questions of the right people. They should identify their concerns, then ask questions to understand the host culture and norms that could explain unknown behaviors." During her talk Doby also emphasized the importance of competence. "Traveling abroad requires a set of skills -- tangible acts like reading maps and speaking a language, as well as intangible attributes like resiliency and openness to new experiences." She recommended students take a skills inventory to determine what they know and what they need to know.
The benefits of travel have served Doby well in her marketing career. Currently, she works as a regional marketing specialist for Chipotle Mexican Grill. In her experiences with large corporations, she is often the only black woman in the boardroom. The way she connects to her colleagues across cultural differences is through talk of her travels. In job interviews, her travel experience shows tenacity and self-possession.
Her message to Wesleyan students is to practice courage by stepping outside their comfort zones; go to a restaurant alone, befriend someone from another country, attend a lecture that interests you, and, ultimately, go see the world.
Find out more about Candace Doby and her insights on courage here: candacedoby.com