Bahamian exchange student thankful for USM study abroad program

Bahamian exchange student thankful for USM study abroad program

PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) -The University of Southern Mississippi not only attracts locals but also people from far and wide.

“There was an opportunity that arose to get a level education, and I took that opportunity and ran with it,” said Ka’lon Duncanson.

Many are familiar with the main campus that sits in the heart of Hattiesburg. However, Ka’lon Duncanson, from Freeport, Bahamas, invested in the opportunity to dive deep into marketing in marine studies and scuba diving at the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach.

“I went back home, [and] I resigned from my job,” said Duncanson. “At the time, I had already applied to USM working out the VISA process, and by December, I was back in America.”

You probably figure Duncanson is a study abroad student, which he is, but not of the traditional nature.

The University provides pre-departure preparation as well as on-site support, but Duncanson took -another- route.

Russ Willis, a management assistant teaching professor, said Duncanson went ‘all in.’

“So, he came to The University of Southern Mississippi as an exchange student,” said Willis.

“He is getting a full-on degree at southern miss, so he’s not just here for a semester or a year because we do have students that are here for just a shorter period of time,” Willis added. “He just wanted to experience things like other American students, so he was really interested in going on British studies.”

From the Bahamas to the Gulf Coast, to embarking on studying business management abroad in the United Kingdom. Duncanson said he didn’t really want to be limited to foreign studies.

“I just wanted to break those walls down and break those thoughts of I can’t do it and show other international students you can if I can, you can,” said Duncanson. “That was a big part of this for me.”

“[I] did a little bit of crowdfunding and just believed in myself I was going to go to London,” Duncanson added. “I just did what I had to do, I worked hard.”

Taking advantage of opportunities and utilizing resources, Willis said Duncanson did just that … and more.

“He went to some … Westin plays I see equivalent going to a Broadway play, so he had not seen a big musical production like that, and he went to several of those and loved them,” said Willis.

Duncanson said Crusin’ the Coast and Hurricanes truly brought him to the Gulf Coast, and when he isn’t busy traveling and learning new things, he’s busy with several student outreach organizations, including one he established himself.

“I started a marine conservation and scuba diving group on campus about a year ago because that’s where I want to take my business degree,” said Duncanson. “We like aquarium visits. During the fall break, we went to the New Orleans aquarium. So we do a lot of aquarium visits.”

“We, partner, and attend the Mississippi State extension program, they do monthly beach clean-ups, so we participate in those as well,” Duncanson added.

Duncanson plans to graduate next year with his bachelor’s degree with hopes to broaden scuba diving across South Mississippi and in the U.S.A.

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