How your travel inspires the next generation

Jadon Joyner, International Officer at London Met, discusses representation in study abroad experiences, a topic he'll explore at this year's Diversity Abroad Annual Conference.

Date: 27 August 2021

We are all role models for someone, whether at home, school or in our local communities. At this year’s Diversity Abroad Annual Conference, taking place in Atlanta, Georgia, I will be running a session exploring the impact that an individuals' travel can have on the next generation through inspiration, confidence-building, and representation. 

I will be discussing the challenges of the "starting line", particularly for young people from underrepresented backgrounds, but also illuminating the opportunities within studying abroad and full-degree programs, and the impact these examples have not only on travellers but also on those around them. 

What do we want from life? One of the most common answers is that people want to know they've had a positive impact on someone else's life. In every experience we have and share, we drive change through inspiring and impacting others. The session will centre around the impact we can all have through sharing our stories, and I’ll be using my own story as an example.

As a former Trojan sprinter at the University of Southern California, my story starts in high school. My first real introduction to track was Penn Relays, the largest track-meet in North America. Just as we pass the baton to our teammates in a relay race, I believe we should pass our travel experiences to the next generation. Like sport, travel has the ability to unite, educate, and inspire. Many people of colour do not believe that travel is "for them" mainly because they've never seen "themselves" abroad. I believe that we do not recognize the significance that our travel has on people that look like and relate to us.

Sharing your experience of living, studying, or working abroad can not only inspire entire communities but also move towards a more equitable environment. I will be sharing my own experience living in China and studying abroad in East Asia and Europe as a person of colour, and the impact my example had on the people around me. 

Attendees will learn how personal travel experiences can impact their communities and inspire others to participate. Using athletics as a metaphor, attendees will be able to articulate how to pay forward their international experiences within their own communities to drive toward a more equitable future, as well as gaining confidence in their interactions with students when sharing their international experiences.

Jadon Joyner running