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Bianca Dang and classmate Matt Kerolu

Bianca Dang, '13, and classmate Matt Kerolus on a hike down Cape Town's Table Mountain.

From Kansas City to Cape Town

An overseas studies experience expands a student's horizons

A Stanford Fund Scholarship made it possible for Bianca Dang, '13, to come to Stanford. Two years later, The Stanford Fund's support for the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) gave her the chance to leave—at least, temporarily.

"I'd never traveled outside the United States before. I didn't even have a passport," explains Dang, who grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She spent two quarters of her junior year abroad, first in Paris and then in Cape Town, South Africa. The Cape Town campus, BOSP's newest program location, receives seed funding and continuing support from The Stanford Fund.

Dang says that studying in Cape Town was an incredible experience. While there, she was introduced to the Xhosa language, enjoyed the local cuisine, and gained new perspectives on Africa, her area of concentration as a history major. Service-learning is a key part of the Cape Town program. "I worked at a school in a township, Khayelitsha, a part of South Africa that most people ignore," says Dang. She helped students there get the academic experience they'd need for college, and she learned a great deal from them as well. Inspired by the dedication her students put into their studies, she returned with an even greater resolve to take advantage of her time at Stanford.

Dang's overseas experience not only broadened her horizons, it also helped solidify the focus of her honors thesis on the connection between African and African-American civil rights/nationalist movements. "The amount of self-reflection I did in Cape Town was unexpected, but really helped me grow as a person," she says.