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  • Writer's pictureLeadAbroad

Meet Our 2024 Fellow: Charlie Fleury

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

We are thrilled to annouce that Charlie Fleury will be joining our team as a 2024 LeadAbroad Fellow! Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, Charlie is currently a senior at Auburn University majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Business.

Being from Maryland, Auburn was the furthest school he applied to, and funny enough - was the ONE school that he applied to and didn’t tour. The first time Charlie stepped foot on campus was move-in day. Charlie said, "While there was a lot of uncertainty, I knew I wanted to branch out while I was young and make the most of my young adult experience, which is what inspired me to make this big leap of faith." With that same mindset, Charlie also knew he wanted to travel abroad during my time in college to experience a new country and a new culture while being young.

"But little did I know the life changing experience this would entail."

During the summer of 2023, he was a student on LeadAbroad’s DIRECT Cape Town program. Charlie said that if

someone would have told him he would be studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa a month prior to putting down the deposit, he would have brushed it off and laughed. Going to Europe was always at the top of his study abroad list - but a friend quickly changed his mind.

Charlie's best friend was a DIRECT Cape Town student in 2022, and she constantly raved about her experience. The stories she told about the excursions, people, scenery, and community service all seemed incredible to Charlie. She constantly harped on the fact that her trip to Cape Town was truly a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," one that everyone needed to experience.

Charlie shared with our team that "The way she talked about her trip to Cape Town was unlike any other person who talked about their respective study abroad trip. She talked about it with such incredible energy and always had the biggest ear-to-ear smile when telling her stories that I just knew there had to be something special about this place. 'You won’t regret it. I promise,' she said.

She was right."

After hearing this, Charlie took the leap of faith and signed on the dotted line to go to Cape Town. He expressed his journey was special thanks to "LeadAbroad’s commitment to providing an unforgettable experience filled with once-in-a-lifetime time excursions, incredible bonding opportunities, and much more."

On all of our programs, we encourage and challenge students to take the LeadAbroad mission into consideration. To find your people, explore your purpose and discover your place.

The one that resonated with Charlie the most is “Explore your purpose.” He truly saw this pillar impact his life during the day of service at one of the local elementary schools programs in an underprivileged community in Cape Town called Bokmakerie Elementary. Charlie explained that it was one of the most eye-opening experiences he'd ever had. "While the young students we worked with didn’t have much, the pure joy and happiness that each of them possessed was beyond admirable. Being able to interact with these students was incredibly rewarding as these interactions opened my eyes to my calling of serving others – whether that be in a way like this or in a different way," he said.

The biggest takeaway he gained from his time abroad was the importance of learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Charlie believes that there is tremendous value in stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the discomfort - and Cape Town brought him to this realization. "Whether we were hiking Table Mountain, skydiving out of a plane, or jumping off the world’s tallest commercial bungee bridge, I left this trip much more comfortable with the uncertainty and discomfort presented in my life," says Charlie.

"While certainly a safe option, staying in your comfort zone doesn’t lead to any profound change. It’s once you step out of it that you truly begin to transform and grow. I was beyond grateful for the opportunities to push myself and embrace this discomfort during my time abroad."

Charlie is thrilled to serve and lead this summer as a Fellow. Similar to choosing Cape Town as his study abroad destination and going to Auburn University, being a Fellow was an opportunity that he never saw being a part of his future plans following graduation.

He expressed that because of his transformative time in Cape Town and the powerful impact the staff made on him, he ultimately chose to apply for the fellowship position.

"I am thrilled to serve in a way that the staff on my trip did to insure each and every student has a memorable, transformative experience. Whether that be as a leader, a mentor, a friend, or anything in between, I am eager to find ways to serve LeadAbroad's students and help them have the experience of a lifetime so they too will come back absolutely raving about their time abroad!"


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