Kia Thao '19
Program: China Fall Semester
Minor: Asian Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad in China because it was the most closest to my birthplace that I could relate to. I wanted to go somewhere where I was comfortable. Besides all those other reasons, I feel like China has so many beautiful landscapes that I’m dying to visit. China has a little bit of the old traditional society mixed with the more modern culture. This was what attracted me to decide on China.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One cultural experience that made a lasting impression on me about China is the fact that generations of Chinese parents and or grandparents truly cared for their children. They are so involved with their children’s life such as school and other extracurricular activities. This culture is so different compared to the western culture. In China, while parents are away at work, grandparents would go pick up the children at school. Even on the weekends, families would go on outings more often than what I’m used to seeing in my own culture. The Chinese culture has a close knit family relationship.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I am so glad that I have decided to study abroad. Prior to studying abroad, I thought about whether studying abroad is worth my time. I would have to say that it definitely was a worthwhile learning experience. I get to learn a different language, Chinese history, exposed to the Chinese culture, ate good food and created new relationships. All of these aspects that I mention are just the bigger accomplishments I did over the study abroad period. Obviously, there’s more to it than what I mentioned. Studying abroad in Chins has been an eye opener. I would have never looked at China in another perespective if I did not see and experience it with my own eyes. The local Chinese residents are very warming with foreigners. I went safe while trekking around the community. I will always remember the Chinese people of their nice hospitality towards guests. During my stay in China, I felt like I was in good hands because they took care of me constantly. Coming back home was tough for me because I love the landscape, food, and the many good friends that I’ve met. I look forward to seeing more of China’s beautiful sceneries in the future.
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?
Some benefits of studying abroad is the fact that you grow individually as a young adult. You are exposed to new things that challenges your knowledge. For example, you are exposed to trying new food that may seem as exotic, go mountain biking in the countryside and many more. These challenges add onto an individual’s academic and experiential learning. Studying abroad has deepened my understanding of what it means to be exposed to another culture in a different country. I have come to learn and experience that culture first hand. There is nothing more amazing than that. Also, studying abroad makes learning more enjoyable.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Students should really immerse themselves into the study abroad country. I feel like this is the only true way to get one self involve and fully experience that culture. By engaging conversations with other international students or simply just local residents, it shows that you’re really putting an effort to know their culture.