Matters of Reflection featuring: DOMINIQUE AUSTIN 

Who is Dominique Austin? 

I’m a 23 year-old African American woman and I’m currently pursuing my dream of living and attending school in my favorite city.  I live in Paris, France and am in a dual degree graduate program working to get degrees in both International Relations & Diplomacy as well as Strategic Negotiation.  My favorite thing about Paris is definitely the parks and gardens.  The flowers, statues, ponds, etc. are so beautiful to me, so that’s where I’m usually hanging out in my free time or I’m at an art expo with friends.

 

Short Answer: 

Top 3 book or movie recommendations:
1. “A Wrinkle in Time” Madeleine L’Engle

2. “The Prophet” Khalil Gibran

3. Gladiator (2000)

 

Favorite quote?

“For your life to change, you don’t need to desperately exert yourself. A cup of coffee, food that’s tastier than you can imagine, scenes you’ve not seen before, to meet new people. These trivial things change your life.” – Tatsuya Fujiwara

 

Favorite artwork?  

Anything by Monet

 

What is travel for you?  

Travel for me is of course a chance to see new things, experience a new culture, and meet new people. But (when traveling solo) it is also a chance for me to observe and reflect on everything that’s going on around me as well as within myself (emotions, thoughts, etc.).  It is during this time that I try to get a better understanding of myself while experiencing new tastes, sounds, and sights.

 

Why is traveling important?  

Traveling is important to me as a WOC and especially as a Black woman because of how much fun it is and how much you grow from it and the experiences it brings as well as the fact that the narrative surrounding African American women (and WOC in general) is that traveling abroad especially solo is not something that we can do.  I remember in undergrad (I attended a women’s college), other students (always WOC) coming up to me and saying things like “How did you do that?” or “I didn’t know we could do that” or “I didn’t know our school had those services” in regards to study abroad.

 

What do you hope to achieve from traveling?

On a personal level I just want to have new experiences but also (especially when traveling alone) continue to be confident in myself.  Traveling alone, can already be anxiety inducing, and traveling also as a Black woman can add to that feeling of fear or anxiousness.

 

What kind of traveler are you?

I’m definitely someone who likes to plan everything out.  Not to say that my trip is 100% planned but I do like to make a general itinerary for each day and make sure I can see different sites (just as if I were on a guided tour).  I also prefer walking to public transportation when I travel so I always make sure to bring a good pair of shoes. The types of things I tend to put in my itinerary are historical sites, cultural sites, and then any scenic parks or gardens where I can relax and look at the flowers.

 

Favorite place you have been so far?  

My favorite place would have to be Morocco where I studied abroad for one semester because of all of the amazing people I met there. Also the food.  But if we’re talking solo travel it would have to be Portugal (Albufeira). That was one of my first solo trips and I was a bit nervous about how it would go but I ended up having an amazing time and meeting great people along the way.

 

What is your motto?

“Be like the sun and you shall warm the earth”

 

What do you doubt most?

Honestly, myself.  I constantly find myself doubting my skills when my past experiences have proven that I am more than capable of handling a situation or attaining success. Thus, I’m currently working on being more confident in myself.

 

If you could choose, what would you have for your last meal?  

A giant chicken pastilla!!

 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This is something I’m still ruminating on.  I’ve been thinking of working in development, specifically in French speaking Africa however; some things in my life have been changing and I’ve been wondering about how I individually could help the most people in need.  I want to make sure that whatever path I choose can have the most beneficial impact on people.

 

Please feel free to ask Dominique questions in the comment section and if you are looking to connect or follow her, you can find her social media presence at the following platforms. 

 

Instagram @domoisme17

Facebook: Dominique Austin