Zipporah Sewell

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Robert Morris University

Zipporah Sewell is a first-generation college student that has the capacity to lead, impact her fellow peers, and impact her community. She has faced many hardships in her life, such as being homeless, that have built her resilience and self-awareness, she has learned to turn her sorrows to soil and from it, she has grown tremendously. Zipporah is someone who does not take any opportunity she is given for granted, instead, she looks at her opportunities as a way to help others. Currently, a Junior at Robert Morris University majoring in Public Relations with a minor in organizational leadership she wants to not only graduate but take away all that she can from this college experience by serving her community locally and globally. She enjoys growing in her religion, reading books, and impacting others through what she says and what she writes. One of her biggest strengths is her spirit of leadership, she knows how to lead others but she is also not afraid to stand alone for something that she believes in. In the long run, Zipporah plans on using her degree to work with local non and for-profit organizations that help the minority community through mentorship, financial literacy, education, and scholarship. She would also enjoy being a social worker that helps people to face life's challenges and improve their well-being.  
International Experience Summary:

Zipporah Sewell spent two months this summer studying Incan history, climate change, Indigenous knowledge, and volunteering with children through ISA WorldStrides in Peru. During her time in Peru, Zipporah was able to visit various Inca archeological sites including Machupicchu, Sacsayhuaman, Lake Titicaca, and more. With these excursions along with her classes, she was able to see first-hand as well as learn about the depth and importance of Incan culture and history. While living with locals and being surrounded by such a strong presence of history at the dinner table and everywhere downtown she was able to immerse herself in the current culture fully while actively studying its history. In her free time, Zipporah took salsa classes, and cooking classes, as well as visited museums all throughout the city and hung out with local college students. Her favorite activity that she participated in was feeding monkeys in the jungle of Puerto Maldanado. One of the highlights of Zipporah's abroad experience was her service-learning placement where she was able to teach basic English to children aged 3-5. There she was able to use her love of children and learning to help them learn a new language while also being able to soak up Peru from a child's perspective. This experience was incredibly rewarding because she developed new methods of teaching with a language barrier. Furthermore, she learned a plethora of knowledge from her students which in turn helped her learn so much about herself.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Who Gets to be American? 

The title of our CEE was “Who gets to be American”, a conversation about who gets to be American and why. We invited panelists to participate in our CEE who were born in another country or that had roots in another country that they still consider home. The commonality we found in all our study abroad experiences was that we all had different encounters with what it is like to be an American abroad. We know that most college students have this misconception that Americans are treated the same everywhere but it is untrue, we do not view ourselves the way the rest of the world views us and so many factors come into play when you do have your first international experience ( where you are, what you look like, what's going on in the world when you go, etc). Our CEE was more of a discussion with the best professors of RMU that know a lot about living and traveling abroad while being American. Our conversation stretched from the stereotypes people have about Americans to how we should be acting abroad and the grace we should extend to ourselves when we do not always get it right. Being abroad helps you appreciate our land just a little more when you return, and we wanted our audience to really understand that.

Our CEE also consisted of desserts from all of our respective countries in addition to all of the pictures and videos that we took while we were there. We had that set up on a table and while the panel discussion was going on people were enjoying all the different desserts and analyzing how they might be similar or different from one another. Before we got started with the panel, we allowed people to walk around to look at all of our pictures and videos and ask us questions if they had any, we gave fun facts and advice for those studying abroad in the spring or next summer. We closed out our CEE by asking our audience who had been abroad before and letting them share their experience and perspective on what it is like to be American abroad after they had heard all of the professors talk about theirs.