Brenda Xiong is an Ambassador who studied abroad in China.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
A specific cultural experience that I had was trying to convince Chinese people that I was Asian American. No matter how much I tried explaining to them that I was Asian American and not Chinese they would not believe me. Chinese people would ask after I was done explaining or state that I had some sort of Chinese in me. Sure, maybe I do in the far back history of my culture, but from what I know I do not. Along with that, I do not know how to read, write, or speak Chinese.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I have always wanted to study abroad somewhere (does not really matter where). Growing up, China was one of the places that have always fascinated me. I have wanted to go there to see how different the American culture is from it. I signed up for the program when I found out that there were open spaces.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I would answer and give as much advice as I can, but I would honestly tell them too that words cannot describe what the experience was like. They would need to go abroad and experience the once in a life time moment for themselves.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
The trip has helped me be more open-minded then I ever was before. Along with that, I've learned a lot about myself and have definitely seen myself grow, especially with the people on my trip. Not only that, but I have also learned to cherish my family even more than I have ever. In the Chinese culture family is very important. I'm not indicating that I have never cared for my family, but just being away for about 4 months w/out seeing them and only being able to talk to them here and there has made me realize how much I love and miss them. Also, I look for a crowd of people. I have gotten so use to always being around people that it is weird to be by myself some times. However, I think I am adjusting to being on my own again.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
I would suggest students to search about the weather during the semester that they are going to go, because they will need that information ahead to know how to pack and what to expect. Also, to be open to the culture, the people, the food, etc.