Amanda Bennett

Cultural immersion leads Amanda to her career

In the fall of 2013, Amanda enrolled in the dietetics program at Iowa State. After a trip abroad a few years later, she realized she wanted to use her degree to fight hunger overseas.

As a sophomore, Amanda heard about students who took service trips abroad with the College of Human Sciences. Listening to their stories ignited her own desire to head overseas. She began to search for some options. Shortly after, The SALT Company, which has a club on campus, announced a a cultural immersion trip to India.

On May 26, 2015 Amanda packed her bags and flew out of the country for the first time. She said that in itself was a learning experience. But once she navigated the airport, the stress melted away, and she arrived in India. She shared a hotel with six other students from The SALT Company. While there, she spent time getting to know the natives and seeing how they lived. She enjoyed learning about the different cultures, but said it broke her heart seeing the hardships they faced.

“It made me want to help,” she said. “Seeing poverty and hunger, especially in children, made me want to step in and alleviate it.”

Amanda is very determined after that trip to make a difference. She plans to graduate with a degree in dietetics and use her knowledge to enter a position where she can help those malnourished and living in hunger.

Amanda encourages other students to study abroad if given the opportunity. She believes it is an important experience — even if it doesn’t lead to a career path as hers did.

“It’s important to have a global perspective and not get caught up in ethnocentrism,” she said. “I learned a lot about culture and took away how to interact with international students, which is really helpful in going into the work force.”