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Celebrating Ten Years of DDCE Global

Looking back at travel stories told by DDCE alums
Six students from DDCE Global trips

Since 2013, the DDCE has been offering students life-changing trips abroad and in the states—from globe-trotting Maymester programs to stateside community service and professional development trips. Starting with a study abroad trip in Beijing, China in 2013, the DDCE has taken students to various regions of the world including Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa, West Africa, Abu Dhabi/Dubai, New York, Louisiana and more.

As we reflect on this big milestone, we bring you some stories featuring alums who participated in an array of DDCE trips over the years.

FLI in NYC graphic
Gloria Akinnibosun
Destination: New York City

Gloria Akinnibosun (B.B.A. Business Administration/B.A African and African Diaspora Studies, ’22) took a bite out of the Big Apple while participating in the Fearless Leadership Institute’s (FLI) professional development trip to New York City, where she toured big-name corporate offices and nonprofits.

“Ideally, I would like to work in a sector of business that encourages diversity. FLI gave us the opportunity to visit HBO, and that is where my love grew for the line of work I plan to go into. Of course, I envision myself working for an entertainment company like HBO, MTV, Roc Nation, or even Essence, but I believe a lot of beauty lies in uncertainty. I just want to be in a position to craft stories of Black people in the most proper way they deserve to be told.”
—Gloria Akinnibosun

Read her story.

10 years ddce global camilla

Camila Arroyo
Destination: New Orleans, Louisiana

Camila Arroyo  (B.A, Human Dimensions of Organization, ’23) devoted her spring break to sprucing up the neighborhoods in New Orleans, Louisiana while participating in the Alternative Breaks program led by the Community Engagement Collective.  In addition to gaining confidence in herself as a leader, she also discovered a deeper understanding and appreciation of the city’s history and culture.

“My favorite experience was exploring the city. I saw a lot of New Orleans, including the art scene. Everyone was impacted by the art and insightful discussions at Studio B. It’s a Black-owned exhibit with amazing art and interesting graffiti outside. A big topic of conversation was gentrification and understanding race and history in the South. Murals and graffiti really tell the story in a beautiful way.”—Camilla Arroyo

Read her story.

Heather Caudle study abroad

Heather Caudle
Destination: Beijing, China

As a Gateway Scholar, Heather Caudle (B.A. Government, ’16) embarked on her first overseas adventure that took her from Dubai to Beijing, China. While participating in the DDCE’s month-long Maymester trip, she studied China’s social entrepreneurial landscape and volunteered at a rural elementary school. In addition to sparking a life-long love for travel, the experience galvanized her desire to pursue a rewarding career in education.

 “It was a very transformative trip. My experiences working with migrant children at the Dandelion School solidified my decision to work in the education system.”—Heather Caudle

Read her story.

Jordan Gibson in the UAE

Jordan Gibson
Destinations: Dubai/Abu Dhabi; Cape Town, South Africa; and Ghana, Africa

During his time at UT Austin, Jordan Gibson (B.A. Economics, ’23) participated in several study abroad excursions offered by the Global Leadership and Social Impact program and the Heman Sweatt Center for Black Males. The formerly reluctant world traveler has journeyed to places far and wide during his time at UT Austin and has big plans for more world travels.

“One thing that really stuck with me is that I could actually live abroad. Before these trips, I never would’ve even though this could be possible. Now, I believe this is something I could do. Looking at the NYU campus in the UAE really made me think about attending school and maybe even working there one day.”—Jordan Gibson

Read his story.

Donovan Handy 10 years of study abroad

Donovan Handy
Destination: Ghana, Africa

Donovan Handy (B.A. Psychology, ’22) traveled with his fellow Heman Sweatt Center for Black Males student leaders to Ghana, Africa, where he forged a deeper connection with his ancestral homeland and returned to the States with a new perspective.

“I really felt centered and connected to my ancestors and to the roots of our tree. This connection provided me comfort and confidence to take my branch of the tree in whatever direction I would like. It reminded me that no matter what, I am never alone and always will be one with my people. The support that comes from this gives me refreshing freedom to explore myself and the world around me.”—Donovan Handy

Read his story.

Marissa Martinez 10 years study abroad

Marissa Martinez
Destination: San Joaquin, Costa Rica

Marissa Martinez (B.A. Corporate Communication ’21) participated in several DDCE programs including the Global Leadership and Social Impact trip to San Joaquin, Costa Rica, where she explored the country’s many natural wonders, including its tranquil beaches and majestic volcanoes.

“I will never forget that six-hour bus ride into the town of Limón, where we would visit the beach and work at a local elementary school. Our host families warned us to be careful because the city was known for crime, but when we got there, we saw that it was really a beautiful place with a lot to offer. This was a good lesson in seeing places for yourself before believing what you hear in the news.”—Marissa Martinez

Read her story.