International Connections

Molly Hawks

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

Minor/option/emphasis: Event Management; Journalism

Year: Senior
Hometown, State: Des Moines, Iowa

Type of experience: Study Abroad
Experience: Bald Eage and Panda Exchange
Experience website:
Destination: Zhengzhou, China

Overall experience..
This was a fantastic experience to learn about the culture and life of Chinese people. We paired with the Xinlian College and developed a two week curriculum to teach English to their students for our duration there. I learned so much about a whole Chinese culture and learned a new skill of conducting classes and how to teach. Bonding with my students and being able to continue these friendships across the world has been one of the most rewarding experiences.

I learned...
I leaned about this opportunity through a mass email.

An impact to my life...
My study abroad trip to China is one that will stay with me forever. I was pushed to consider new ways of life and even challenged to think about the way that I live my life. My Chinese students were so eager to share their lifestyle and culture with me, it allowed me to immerse myself and thoroughly learn. This has impacted me because it allowed me to learn how much I enjoy teaching and helping students learn english. It has made me want to work towards being able to volunteer in the community or travel the world to teach English. This trip also reminded me that I want to continue to travel throughout my life to learn more about the different cultures all over the world.

My most valuable learning experience...
My most valuable learning experience was working with two very brilliant teachers who taught me many skills on how to lead a successful classroom and connect with students. This is valuable because it can be translated into leading a professional conference.

I will never forget...
My most memorable experience that I took away from this trip was the closing ceremonies of the course. Each person and groups of students prepared a presentation or performance. Our students surprised us with a wonderful video that they had made with all of the videos and photos from the two weeks and how we had impacted them. It instantly made all of our hard work worth it.

A surprising discovery...
I was surprised at how different the way of life I was raised with differs from the Chinese way. Neither are wrong but both do not necessarily mesh together. It made me realize that times in life, what I think is right may be different from another person but I need to take a step back and consider their thinking and where their thought process stems from before I write off their ideas.

Advice for others...
Go into study abroad with an open mind. Be open to new foods, culture, and whole new concepts of living.

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