Ka Lia Vang

Ka Lia is an Ambassador who studied abroad in China.

Major: Political Science

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I chose to study abroad in China because I wanted to experience and immerse myself into a culture that is very different from the U.S. I decided on the China program because of the positive testimonies students who went to China the year before gave.               

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

While teaching in Shehong for one weekend, the Chinese teachers welcomed us with open arms. They were very generous and helpful. On our last day of teach, the teachers took us out to lunch to a restaurant nearby. They wanted us to show their gratitude to us and how they did it was by ordering a mountain food for our lunch! As custom to the Chinese tradition, we sat in round tables. They Chinese teachers were so generous that each time we finished a plate of food, they would order more! This cultural experience had a lasting impression on me because of the generosity the Chinese teachers. They taught us a lot and gave us a lot of advice. Yet they still felt obligated to thank us for teaching their students.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

my overall study abroad experience was beyond wonderful. No words or pictures can do justice to my experience in China. I learned so much about myself and about a culture that I was never familiar with. Not only that, but, my time in China forced me out of my comfort zone. I made a lot of friends in China and met a lot of people from different walks of life. Overall of study abroad trip was life changing.

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?

One of the most important benefits of studying abroad is that it forces you to immerse yourself into a different culture. It forces you to learn about the world from a different perspective. I learned a lot about myself personally through studying abroad. I learned about my strengths and weaknesses. I also learn that there a different perspective to learning about the world. One society may think that their way of thinking is correct. However, once you leave that society and travel to another, the world becomes colorful because of the different perspectives you interact with everyday. In China I learned that building relationships is an important value. Guanxi is a value that is deeply rooted into the Chinese culture. It's a value that I carried with me back to the U.S.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

Be sure as to why you want to study abroad in the country you chose to go. What do you want to gain from your experiences? These are the questions that I would ask myself every time I was in China. These questions improve me reasons to study abroad because each time I had a different answer. Last but not least, have an open mind and roll with the punches! It'll make everything better! Lastly, EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY!