Gloria Tso CC-19

Chapel

How Study Abroad Opened My Eyes to My Identity, Career, and Academics

Gloria Tso 'CC19

"Coming from a minority perspective forced me to see things in a different light and take a critical look at my own assumptions, thought processes and fundamental beliefs."

I always laughed at the notion of studying abroad changing one’s life until it happened to me. Study abroad shows you that your opportunities are endless, so long as you go looking for them.

Because your time abroad is limited to just a few months - - I learned to value every minute of my time as a learning opportunity. I was fortunate enough to spend two terms at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Going to school for eight-week terms, with a five-week break, was radically different from the 14-week semesters I had grown accustomed. Scheduling my time taught me how to set my own schedule so I could maximize productivity, as well as independent study tactics I needed to accomplish a long-term research project.

Sitting in small seminars with foreign-born students was an incomparable opportunity. The more eye-opening part of it, however, is that I became the international student myself. As an American Studies and East Asian Studies major, hearing about what British students thought about American and international politics challenged my critical thinking and analytical skills. Coming from a minority perspective forced me to see things in a different light and take a critical look at my own assumptions, thought processes and fundamental beliefs.

I was interested in going into journalism before I went abroad, but with the freedom I had, I was able to explore all of my interests, which opened my eyes to new pathways.. What I never could have imagined about my study abroad experience was that in gaining a much greater understanding of another culture, I would also gain a much greater understanding of my own.