Abigail Herrold

Hometown: Valparaiso, Indiana

Major: Psychological Sciences

College: Health & Human Sciences

Having lived in the same town in Indiana my entire life, I yearn to explore the world. I have wanted to go to the United Kingdom since I was a small child. So the moment I heard of the Health and Equality throughout the U.K. and Ireland study abroad program, my heart was captured. When I learned it was focused on LGBTQ+ health and inequality, I was sold.

I identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and I am minoring in LGBT Studies and Human Development & Family Studies. Now that I am learning about the discrimination that the LGBTQ+ community has faced throughout history in my classes, my passion to know more has grown immensely. While I grew up in a relatively welcoming community and the discrimination I faced because of my sexuality and gender identity has been minimal, for many this is not the case. I wish to help others who have struggled in their daily lives due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Throughout this study abroad program, we will visit community and health centers and study the health acts and policies that affect the LGBTQ communities in the U.K. and Ireland. We will have the opportunity to learn about the state of marriage equality and reproductive rights as well as the rights of transgender people and refugee health from a number of speakers. Additionally, we will visit the Gay Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) organization’s center and meet with their leaders, and hear from members of Parliament and the democratic and social labor party to hear a discussion on LGBTQ rights, health, and inequality. All this will help me to understand not only core issues that are faced by LGBTQ+ individuals today, but also how these differ by country and culture and what things seem to work well to ensure that such issues are heard and resolved.

I will take the knowledge I have gained from this trip and apply it not only to my studies at Purdue, but also in my long term career goals. I plan to be a Clinical Psychologist with my own private practice, and I want to specialize in helping youth as well as people of the LGBTQ+ community as they are at an increased risk of suffering from mental illness. I am ever grateful to have been given the opportunity to go on this trip, as this program is a perfect fit for me. I am eager to study a subject I am passionate about in places I have always dreamed of going.

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