Regina Therchik '20
Program: China Fall Semester
Minor: Peace Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad so that I can become a global citizen. By this, I meant that I wanted a broader understanding of the world around me. One of my intentions in studying abroad was to experience life somewhere completely different from where I come from. I was willing to feel uncomfortable because I know being outside of my comfort zone helps me grow professionally and personally.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The greatest experience I had abroad was getting to teach an English lesson to 11th graders at a boarding school for students in the countryside. As a former boarding school attendee, I felt more at home. The students more than likely had never met foreigners before and were never taught English my a native speaker. I was so happy to have had such an experience.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall experience studying abroad has been so kind to me. I gained so much knowledge that I did not know, of which I now share with my community. I got to speak in a foreign language everyday and I had been learning not only from the classroom, but from local people and my new friends. Studying abroad in China was more than I expected it to be.
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?
Personally, I got the chance to decipher my strengths and weaknesses, and continue work on utilizing them in my personal and professional life. Going to China was the furthest I’ve been away from home, which challenged me to be more independent. I seek diversity in my friends, which is one of the reasons I came to Minnesota from rural Alaska. I loved learning about Chinese people, their society, their language and their distinctive cultures, which will benefitted me in creating new ideas with greater imagination.
Academically, I got to improve on my Chinese language skills since I communicated in the language everyday. The courses I took while abroad contributed to completing some of my major requirements, as well as my general requirements for graduating.
Professionally, I made some connections with other students and teachers at Southwest University in Chongqing. I had the opportunity to teach English, which had me consider to apply to become a Fulbright Scholar to teach in China for a year.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would advise students who are considering studying abroad to apply just to see where it might take them. I think that even just having the option available is the first step to making the best educational decision that they make. Learning does go beyond the classroom, but what knowledge is gained can be applied anywhere.