Erykah's Story

Erykah Hearn never dreamed of studying abroad, but when the opportunity arose to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, she couldn't say no.


After Erykah Hearn learned she’d received a prestigious scholarship to study in Johannesburg, South Africa, she actually laughed at the idea of going. 

“Right off the bat I was like, 'no way I’m not going to South Africa for six weeks',” she says. 

Erykah had been nominated for the scholarship by a staff member at Robert Morris, but didn’t think she’d actually get it. After deliberating with her family, Erykah decided that leaving the country would be a great opportunity to experience something new. 

She worked as an intern at the African Leadership Academy, a school that prepares teenage kids from all over the world to become Africa’s next leaders. Erykah managed all communication and social media between students, parents, and faculty. 

“Now that I’m back from my trip I’ve realized how much I can do,” says Erykah. “The experience took my personal limitations off myself and opened my eyes to see that there’s more to the world than the 50 states.” 

Erykah wants other students to have the same incredible study abroad experience she did. She works with the RMU Center for Global Engagement to share her story with others who are interested in visiting Africa and encourages them to go abroad. 

Looking back, Erykah laughs at the fact that she was once hesitant about leaving the U.S. and is proud she stepped out of her comfort zone. 

“Before getting this scholarship I don’t believe I would’ve ever studied abroad,” she says. “Now I want to study in different places and take what I learned from the African Leadership Academy and use it wherever I go next.”

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