Many individuals do not get the opportunity to travel or leave the country, but that does not have to be the case for Alvernia University students. Alvernia University has opportunities to travel or study abroad for various amounts of time, ranging from two weeks to a whole semester. Alvernia has now added an opportunity to travel to Yinchuan, China. Students can stay at North Mingzu University in China and interact with native students.
This past May, Alvernia University sent the first group of students along with three faculty members to China to establish the relationship with North Mingzu University. The past group of students traveled to see the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Great Wall of China, etc. The language barrier will not be an issue; according to information given by Melissa Maney, director of global engagement, the students who wish to make the trek to China must take at least one semester of the Chinese language with visiting Professor Li Wenzhu. Also, Chinese native, Dr. Di You, will be leading the trip this upcoming May.
Alvernia University has signed the agreement with North Mingzu University’s business department, allowing students to study under their faculty. Along with studying, students will have the opportunity to travel and sightsee some of the greatest attractions China has to offer. When speaking about her two-week experience in China, Senior Arielle Phillips states that “it had made me open-minded to different ways of learning and different perspectives on the world”. The travel option will prove beneficial to all students, but especially those pursuing a career in the business field, due to the specific agreement, with the business department.
Traveling can add value to one’s education and resume, as well as create lifelong friendships and learning. Visiting Chinese professor, Wenzhu Li mentions that “traveling abroad especially to countries like China can be a very big test to yourself. You will have to step out of your comfort zone and to force yourself to face all kinds of difficulties. After this precious experience, you might find a new self.”
As one of the first students who embarked on this journey, I feel as though I have learned a lot regarding the Chinese culture and language. As graduation nears and I close in on my future career in psychology, I feel as though I have gained insight that will help me in my future career. In our lives we will come into contact with individuals who come to or identify with various cultures relating to ethnicity, race, religion, etc. For my future plans, I have the opportunity to work with clients who come from different cultures. I believe that learning about their culture is best when you are completely immersed in it; I believe this experience will assist me in treating my future clients competently and to the best of my ability.
Participating in real world learning allows students to have the ability to gain confidence in their education by applying their knowledge into real-life situations. Each person will bring back different memories and lessons from travel opportunities providing a unique experience for each person. When asked why students should take advantage of this opportunity, sophomore Leslie Martines Rivera says that “people can experience what China is like for themselves, for example it’s not what you see in the news”. From transforming lives to finding interests or strengths we did not know we had, studying abroad gives students an opportunity to spread their wings, and sore to new heights.