Kellie is an Ambassador who studied abroad in China
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I entered college knowing that I would want to go abroad. At that time, I did not know where exactly I wanted to go. But, luckily, I found exactly where I wanted to be. I decided to study in China because I wanted to experience a culture that is very different than the USA. I was able to experience this while in China, but I was also able to understand the different ways of communication, food, and understanding for how the world operates.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your program that made a lasting impression.
China's culture is as different as you would like to make it. The general atmosphere of China is different than in the USA. A specific experience was ordering. Something that we often take for granted in the states, ordering in other countries is very hard (especially if you do not know the language). One of the first nights in China, my roommate and I decided to go out to dinner. Neither of us knowing much Chinese, we placed our order and crossed our fingers. We ended up ordering duck brain, pig leg, and fried rice. The reason this experience had a lasting impression on me was because it showed me that you need to go with the flow. Not everything is going to be easy when you are abroad, but it will be interesting!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall experience in China was phenomenal. It is hard for me to pinpoint the exact moment that I realized that this experience changed the way I viewed the world. I think this is because when abroad, no matter where you go, you are constantly learning. Your body is almost in overstimulation because everything is new...and the best kind of new I have ever experienced.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
I have found many benefits to studying abroad. At the very basis, it is an excellent conversation starter. But, beyond that, it allows you to view the world as a round place. Being abroad opens your eyes to different experiences. In my opinion, it takes the "wow, that's weird" out of any experience. If anything, being abroad allows for you to see something as a new different. It is amazing!
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Take the step into a different culture, it might be one of the scariest things you have ever done, but it will allow you to grow in more ways than you ever thought possible!