THE POINT of AA ABROAD is twofold: first to provide you with honest insights about how you can expect to feel as an African-American (AA) living or travelling abroad and second, to provide you with practical information and suggestions that will help you maximize your enjoyment during your stay.
As you travel, you will undoubtedly discover (if you haven’t already) that the world is painfully unaware of the existence, much less the contributions and lifestyles of African-Americans. Think of yourself as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of all of us and think of this site as your connection to other AA’s working, living, travelling and studying around the globe.
Starting AA Abroad
I began writing AA ABROAD while living and working in Buenos Aires. After many years as a starving public interest lawyer in California and DC, I finally made my way into the “international scene” when I was offered a 6 month consultancy with the UNHCR. Other Americans I met in B.A. would always ask what it was like to work for the U.N., meanwhile I was wondering whether my contract would be extended and what I would do for a living after 6 months was up! Luckily, the idea for this guide hatched by about month five.
Before I left for Argentina, I scanned the internet and lots of travel books looking for anything that dealt with African-Americans abroad. There was almost nothing. So, I picked up several general travel guides, packed up my belongings and put them in storage and flew to Argentina. After several months of living in mostly white (Spanish and Italian descendants) B.A., I got tired of answering the “De donde sos?” question and trying to explain the history of slavery and decided that the world simply did not know enough about African-Americans. And clearly what they were learning from Mike Tyson fights, “My Wife and Kids,” and “The Plunkets” wasn’t sufficient. Secondly, I thought again about how helpful it would have been if someone could have helped me to navigate Buenos Aires from a racial standpoint. But, since no one had yet provided this service, I decided that there was no time like the present and…well, no one better than me to do it!
So, drawing on my experiences as an exchange student in Salvador, Bahia Brazil, a short-term resident and legal consultant in Argentina, and Uganda and the experiences of other African-American professionals abroad, I give you
All the best,
Principal, AA Abroad
AA Abroad Contributors:
Antoinette Saddler, M.D.
Evan Russell, Johns Hopkins Medical Student
Evan Russell is an MD/PhD student at Johns Hopkins University focusing on International Health. He worked previously as the Development and Program Officer for Global Health through Education, Training and Service (GHETS), a non-profit organization focused on building health infrastructure in developing countries. Prior to working for GHETS, he interned in the Office of Senator Barack Obama and with the Kaiser Family Foundation as a Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholar. Evan graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and has travelled in South Africa, Afghanistan, and Sweden.
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A Rhodes Scholar
An International AIDS policy professional