PaJou Thao '19

Program: China Fall Semester

Major: Global Business Leadership

Minor: Communication

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

Studying abroad has always been a goal of mine ever since I was a kid. I love exploring and going on adventures and so deciding on a college that was geared towards studying abroad during one's college experience played a significant factor. Since I am a business major, China was a perfect opportunity for me to study more about globalization and international business.

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

The biggest cultural experience during my study abroad program that made a lasting impression would probably be having all of our dishes plated on a round table that spins! Relationships is really big in China and so to build that relationship, they share food on a spinning table; you grab what you want and put it on your plate, then you spin it to get another dish.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

The culture shock will definitely hit you hard when you have to use squatting toilets but that shock is good! You will continuously learn a tremendous amount on not only yourself but also about another culture. You have a group to share your experience with and you'll learn knowledge you would have never learned if you stayed on campus. This is a great opportunity to create network as there are people from all over the world studying abroad as well.

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?

When you're studying abroad, the experiences and different perspectives of the world is something that you could never learn when you are on campus. You can't teach experience. When you experience all the different adversities and culture shock abroad, you are constantly learning about your own personal values and who you are. The classes that you take are taught from professors from across the world; their knowledge and perspective is different from home. And finally when you have successfully studied abroad, it looks great on your resume! You can use all the experiences and knowledge you learned abroad and use it for job interviews; they will be highly impressed.

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

Challenge yourself! Change is good. Don't stay in your comfort zone because the world is static; it is constantly changing and evolving.