The second-ever cohort of Global MA in INGO students began their trek across the globe this August. Carleena Lara-Bregatta was among them, and so far, her graduate studies have taken her to Bangkok, Thailand and London, England. We caught up with Carleena on the verge of winter break to see what she thinks about her first semester as a “global.”
Carleena Lara-Bregatta is 22 years old. In her undergraduate studies, she attended West Chester University in West Chester, PA. She studied within the field of psychology, yet her interests have shifted more towards the field of sociology. She would ultimately love to continue her education and receive her PhD in sociology to later become a professor. Her interests within the field of sociology are globalization, inequality, and health. Carleena is also very involved in yoga and meditation. She intends to receive her yoga teaching certification within the next few years. Yoga has allowed her to tap into her spiritual side and remain centered through difficult times. She enjoys many forms of artistic expression as well, including dance and drawing; she is also in the process of teaching herself acoustic guitar. She would love to combine her NGO experience later in life with the teachings and practices of yoga to underprivileged groups. She is passionate about educating youth and combining that with healthy lifestyle practices.
Where are you currently?
I am currently living in London, UK.
What’s your next stop?
My next stop is Leiden, Netherlands.
Why did you choose Webster’s Global MA program?
I chose Webster’s program because I was really feeling unsatisfied with doing a regular Masters. I really wanted to combine traveling with studying to get two things accomplished at once. Since I was interested in the social sciences, I also felt that a global masters would be much more beneficial for my career.
Describe a memorable cultural experience that you’ve had while in the program.
Countless memorable cultural experiences occurred for me in Thailand. I enjoyed learning about their political issues and how the society reacted (and often accepted) the current regime. It was a large change to go from an American culture of outspokenness to Thai culture where things are on the opposite end of the spectrum.
What has been your biggest challenge as you adapt to a new culture?
One of the challenges I faced when adapting to new cultures was to refrain from anger or annoyance in Bangkok. The city is extremely overwhelming at times with people trying to sell you things left and right. I had to constantly remind myself that they are simply working as hard as possible to support themselves and their families. Once I traveled outside Bangkok I realized that the city life is much different than the rural parts of Thailand and I began to fall in love with the country.
Academically speaking, share a moment/experience/knowledge gained in the Global MA program that has introduced you to a new idea/perspective.
Academically speaking, one of the most enlightening parts of the program was speaking to locals about their experiences living in the country. Specifically, in Thailand I tried to question people about their thoughts on the political powers there and see how they felt about it. I feel like this really complimented my educational experience because I learned things in class and then was able to go out and test if what I learned was accurate, based on my own experiences.
What are your plans for the future after you complete the GMAINGO program?
I intend to apply, apply, and apply some more to land a job at an NGO/INGO. I am planning on simultaneously applying for teaching English in Thailand or look for NGO jobs there so that I can return. I’d also love to gain my yoga teaching certification after graduation as well.
Any fun travel plans over winter break?
Over winter break I am planning on going to Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ll probably look to rent a car so I can check out the countryside as well. Then I’ll be flying home for Christmas & New Years. Following that, I have a trip to Iceland booked for 6 days to see the Northern Lights and anything and everything else that I am able to see in that time.
Interview by Gracie Gralike.