First To Go Abroad" is a partnership between the Loyola Marymount University First To Go Program, LMU Study Abroad, and the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), which seeks to increase study abroad opportunities for first-generation college students. In May 2017, fifteen first-gen students and two first-gen faculty mentors traveled together to Santiago, Dominican Republic, where they spent ten days exploring the country and learning about the local cultures, customs, and histories of the people who call the DR home.

Travel is a privilege not all students have the same access to; for some students, this trip was the first time out of the United States. Like the first-generation college experience, the experience of international travel is marked by daily encounters with new spaces, people, and cultural practices that can be at once overwhelming and inspiring. This was a topic of exploration throughout the trip and the subject of the pages contained in this volume.

The narratives published here are the product of a cross-institutional writing workshop, where students from LMU and the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra worked together to draft essays documenting their encounters with change that have pushed boundaries, broken down borders, and generated personal growth. We hope our readers around the world will appreciate these works, which showcase the transformative power of creative and collaborative global encounters.