Shoua Cha '20

Program: China Fall Semester

Major: Nutrition Dietetics


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

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to step out of my comfort-zone and become a more independent person. I decided on the China program because I took a college course in Chinese and became interested in the country. I've also always wanted to travel, and this would help me utilize my Chinese on a regular basis; helping my language skills to grow.

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

On our group excursion to the Yunnan providence, we got the opportunity to visit the ethnic village of the Bai people. This was my first look on how the ethnic minorities in China lived. It helped me form a broader view on life in China, and completed part of the puzzle that I felt China was.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Overall, I really liked my study abroad experience. I felt like I have grown a lot more as an individual. Knowing how much time abroad has impacted me, not having been able to go would have been a great regret. Having returned, I hope to be able to advise others as they also plan their trip to China.

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?

Studying abroad really gives you a sense of independence; making you step out of your comfort zone and learn to adapt to cultures you don't know or understand. It helps to build character and is a great chance for personal growth. Academically, it can also help you complete your common curriculum to graduate. Professionally, It is also a great way to network; allowing you connect with others all around the world. Such chances cannot easily be obtained without you first taking a step yourself.

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

I advise everyone to study abroad if you can. It is a wonderful and unique experience. Studying abroad is not the same as going to these countries by yourself. It gives many benefits and makes you think more critically about yourself and the world around you.