If I want to start from the beginning, I guess the very first thing I should put on this blog is the reason I wanted to study abroad.
I’ve been wanting to study abroad for years now. I don’t know how long I’ve had these thoughts, but if anything, I almost want to say that it definitely became more concrete during junior year of high school (you can find out why here).
Senior year of high school when I was looking at colleges, one of the most defining factors for eliminating and choosing schools, besides the normal things (programs, costs, location, etc), was whether or not it had a study abroad program for an engineering major, and still be able to graduate in 4 years. When looking then, it didn’t matter where the programs were, it just needed to have one that let me go abroad.
Because I want to explore the world. I want to be able to see how different the education systems are, and how that affects the way individuals approach a problem. I want to change the way that I approach problems, or at least see them from a different perspective. I want to learn a culture from the inside instead of what we can gather through the media and internet. I want to learn the customs, traditions and values of a culture from personal experience instead of through the words, videos and stories of others. Having family in China and being bicultural meant that when I learned about Chinese history and culture in the classroom, I noticed when values important to my family and I were glossed over. I found that things that are seemingly essential here in the U.S. could be completely useless abroad, and I want to understand this difference.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I probably also wanted to see if I could survive in a place where I don’t always have a helping hand available a phone call and 20 minutes away. If I really could be independent, or at least more so than I was or thought I was. I wanted to know what it was like to rely on myself more.
But anyways, these are the main reasons why I wanted to study abroad.