Student Spotlight

Alexandria Graig-Tiso

It is clear that Alex’s adventures abroad translated into a practical wisdom she could use in her home community.

Ale HeadshotA desire for self-guided learning has always been circulating in the blood of Alexandria Graig-Tiso. Self-guided learning is essential in experiential learning. After all, whenever someone is forced to do something they never really get as much out of the experience as they would if they took it upon themselves to explore life. Exploring the areas of life you truly enjoy makes the experience more spiritual. That feeling of something being meant to be is one of the best in the world. It gives you the sense that you are truly progressing toward your vocation or calling. After high school, Alex took a gap year to ski instruct in Jackson Hole Wyoming for the winter. After, she moved to Big Island Hawaii for six months to be a pool attendant and a kayak instructor. Her thirst for travel had still yet to be quenched until she experienced the Semester at Sea Program through the University of Dayton.

In the fall of 2016, Alex visited 12 countries, 13 ports of call. Through this experience, she gained what she was craving her whole life, the ability to understand different people and their backgrounds.

“I was thrown into so many different situations that forced me to step back and learn about the person from a non-verbal standpoint before I could even open my mouth to ask questions,” she said. “I also had a language barrier in so many of the countries so learning how to engage this non-verbal part of my soul was one of the biggest yet most rewarding challenges I faced.”

It is amazing that humans don’t absolutely need words to communicate. Facial expressions and emotion might not be as effective as words, but they can do a lot to show someone from a different culture how you feel about them and their perspective. Experiential learning opportunities are supposed to be full of challenges. Your growth is measured by how you react to and overcome those challenges.

It might not be fun in the moment, but dealing with uncomfortableness is a big step in finding out who you are and making an impact on the world.  Those challenges she faced made Alex a more self aware person. Needing to always be aware of her surroundings and actions abroad helped Alex think from a different perspective when she came back to UD.

“All of a sudden I was aware of people I never even realized I could learn from here, I was aware of new things on campus, I was aware of how the world was affecting every single student at UD,” she said. “I was aware of me and who I was, who I became and who I wanted to be.”

It is clear that Alex’s adventures abroad translated into a practical wisdom she could use in her home community. It is important to reflect on past experiences so you can get the most out of them. Without reflection, you can never truly gain the wisdom you’ll need to face the unknown future. Equipping yourself with the right tools to tackle adversity makes your experience a rich one. When you are able to use what you have learned in the past for future dilemma, you have learned. Living in a new culture can be scary for some, and possibly even turn them against trying new things due to the uncomfortableness. However, Alex faced her challenges and earned a new sense of confidence and direction because of it.  

“I have gained so much confidence and intuition that I feel I am able to take this life on and meet my goals every single day of understanding people and their background and to learn more about this world so I will never be enslaved into not being able to learn and grow.”

Experiential Learning Involvement:
Creative Projects
Education Abroad
  • Semester at Sea
  • Kappa Delta Sorority



The Office of Experiential Learning

Roesch Library
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469