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Getting the chance to work with college students in a different country really opened my eyes to the importance of cross-cultural research. As a team, we were able to share valuable insights and perspectives, which led to the completion of a successful research project. Not only did I gain many useful teamwork skills, but I also learned how to troubleshoot various problems, such as language misunderstandings to technical challenges with the firewall.
Coming on this trip, I was able to discover new lifelong friends while satisfying my intellectual curiosities. Growing up in the United States, I think it is easy to live in a bubble and fail to see the wonderful world beyond our borders. Therefore, challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone was a positive experience that I will cherish forever.
As a first-generation college student, opportunities such as these do not come by often. My parents originally immigrated from China, so I have frequently visited their hometowns in the countryside. However, coming on this trip, I got the chance to explore a different part of China I did not even know about. From the bustling city life to the historical sites, I was astonished by the rich cultural history and diversity that China embodies.
Additionally, growing up as an Asian American, I have always struggled with connecting with my cultural identity. However, this trip offered me the chance to explore that side of my identity. At first, I was too embarrassed to admit how little Chinese literacy I had, but I eventually decided to embrace the short amount of time I had in China to improve and learn from others. It was humbling and enlightening to see how different doors opened when I accepted my own weaknesses and became willing to grow from them.