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Where Are They Now – Jorge Branco ‘13 Psychology | Study Abroad in London in Fall 2010 || Features

Growing up as the first generation American I often visited family in Portugal which helped to create in me a strong desire to travel and see more of the world. With those memories at heart I knew that studying abroad was a core dream of mine and nothing would stand in my way. I decided to study abroad in London and it began a life changing and pivotal moment in my life. I became determined to reach deep down and look at my flaws. I desired to overcome and change, to follow my life dreams and aspirations, and more importantly to really become the man I knew I could be. In college we have a many choices impacting our future. We are young and strong enough to open the doors of our past and fix anything about ourselves we don’t love, and choose to be anything in our future that we DO love.

The study abroad experience made me appreciate being a Monmouth University student more and to take advantage of all that it offers every student. I took my classes more seriously and opened up my eyes to all the opportunities that lay before me.  I realized that just showing up wasn’t enough, I had to learn and apply as much as possible. That is really just one of the many intangibles of the study abroad experience, the fact that you can wake up. I think you grow up faster into an adult with values and actual plans, other than just what the weekend entails.

Five Questions:

Q. What are you doing now?

A. I’m currently writing this blurb in Bali, Indonesia while building my vision for World Travelers Association (WTA). I have been abroad for the past eight months thus far, building a platform for others to ‘Travel for a Purpose’. WTA is a lifestyle and it breaths for “Adventure Travel for a Cause.” Allowing travelers to self-expand through new and inspiring adventures (like learning to surf or overcoming the fear of jumping off a waterfall) will enhance something epic within you. But matching a vacation with purpose or “Cause” will allow you to feel the REAL experience. Paying it forward to communities or teaching an orphan how to juggle a soccer ball cannot be described in just mere words. It’s about connecting with pure love in the world, and improving even one life with something as simple as your presence. I have dedicated my life’s work to “picking my little piece of the world, and improving it.” I’m abroad leading by example, experiencing many adventures and using my skills and experiences to volunteer in any way I can. When I come to know a country and it’s locals I plan and guide a life changing trip for others.

Q. What advice would you give to a freshman student today?

A. Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion. It’s your life, so figure out what your passions are and wear it on your sleeve. Life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, so live interdependent with each other. Inspire with love and kindness and your life will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

Q. Give us one word that sums up your study abroad experience?

A. Arete= living your life to your fullest potential, excellence in every aspect of your life.

Q. Why do you think more students don’t study abroad?

A. It’s Fear of breaking away and taking risks to somewhere unknown. I think most students in college are beginning to form the ideas of who they wish to become in life. Leaving new friends and social groups is difficult to wrap your head around. People can tell you with words how great certain opportunities are in life but until you FEEL the experience in your core, our logical brain is shadowed with fear of a road less traveled. The only way to be extraordinary is to Do what the ordinary person is unwilling to do.

Q. What do you know for sure?

A. I know for sure that I’m blessed beyond belief to have had so much love from everyone over the years. I’m destined for great things in this lifetime, and it’s a tribute to everyone who helped me see that in myself. It will not be wasted and God willingly I’ll take it to my very last breath to inspire others to do what inspires them to become great.