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Mentor Profile

Bio

mentor picture Kimberly
 
Kimberly
Senior Year Student
Loyola Marymount University
I am a senior at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Business Administration. Although I have traveled to numerous countries throughout the world such as England, Germany, France, the Philippines,... I am a senior at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Business Administration. Although I have traveled to numerous countries throughout the world such as England, Germany, France, the Philippines, and Mexico, I just recently returned from studying abroad for a semester in Beijing, China. I thought that studying abroad my senior year would be difficult because a lot of events occur during this time, but I found that, regardless, studying abroad was a worthwhile experience. Due to my study abroad experience, I am interested in traveling more around the world, meeting people from different countries, and exploring worldwide issues that affect us today. Studying abroad in China was one of the best experiences in my lifetime.

Responses

  1. Although financial expenses should not affect one’s choice in where to study abroad, I feel that one should highly take them into account when considering where to go. Whether the exchange rate value is higher or lower than that of your home country’s currency, this affects how much you can travel and how much you can spend on souvenirs, food, etc. If you do not have a meal or housing plan included in your study abroad program, you should also take these expenses into account. For me, even though housing was included in my program, food was not. Luckily, the Chinese exchange rate value is lower than that of the American dollar, so I would barely spend any money on meals. My advice is to strongly think whether you can realistically spend your money while still living comfortably and having fun. No matter where you travel to, just remember that budgeting and spending your money wisely is most important.
    3 answers – Deciding On A Program
  2. Some universities actually require college students to study abroad only during certain years. Before applying for a program, ask the study abroad adviser at your university. At my school, one can only study abroad their sophomore, junior, or senior year. As someone who studied abroad as a senior, I feel that it does not matter what year you go abroad. You just have to experience it! If anything going abroad my senior year gave me new insights on the world right before having to make life changing decisions, such as what I want to do after I graduate. Currently, I know that I want to work for an international company.
    4 answers – Deciding On A Program
  3. First you need to get informational materials either from your universities’ study abroad office or from the program/university where you wish to take classes. Once you acquire that, see whether the program offers classes you need to fulfill your major, minor, or general education courses. If you find that the classes will count, you can start planning what year and semester you want to study abroad. My advice is to be very careful in making sure that the classes count. Go to both your academic advisor and the study abroad advisor to make sure that you will graduate on time.
    4 answers – Deciding On A Program
  4. Yes. Your financial aid, whether that is grants, scholarships, loans, etc. do apply if you chose to study abroad. Make sure that you consult a financial aid advisor at your university before making any decisions to study abroad though.
    4 answers – How to pay
  5. Sure, I could list many fun study abroad experiences, such as riding camels in the Gobi Desert while watching the sunrise or biking to a mud cave so we could play in the mud. But ultimately, the friends I made there were the best experience. Nothing beats spending every waking hour with friends that you made around the world. Not only do you make long lasting friendships while traveling and having fun, but you also learn about different cultural perspectives that make you stronger as a person.
    7 answers – Personal
  6. For me, the hardest challenge of being home was coming back to an environment I have not been accustomed to for several months. Of course, it was difficult for me to get used to the fact that I was not in China anymore, but what was even harder for me was not having my friends that I made abroad with me all the time. Like I said, when abroad, you build such strong friendships with the people around you that once those people are not with you anymore it feel strange to adjust back to seeing other faces.
    4 answers – Re-Adjusting to Home
  7. I’ll admit that it took me awhile to readjust back to my normal environment. I found myself missing simple things like places I would frequently go to or people that I would always see. Since I just came home about a month and a half ago, I am pretty accustomed to life back home. Sure, I still miss people, but keeping myself busy with school, work, activities, and hanging out with friends, makes my transition easier. If anything, know that with time you will find yourself readjusting back to your normal environment.
    2 answers – Re-Adjusting to Home
  8. Yes! I find myself still maintaining the relationships I made with friends while abroad. Through Skype, AOL instant messenger, messages, and emails, we frequently keep each other updated on each others’ lives. Actually, during winter break, one of my friends from the Philippines, which I made abroad, came to visit my school and I showed him around LMU. During my vacations, I hope to visit even more friends that I made. Despite the fact that we are geographically separated from one another and we have different schedules, I find it amazing how our friendships still continue to grow.
    3 answers – Re-Adjusting to Home
  9. It all depends on the program with which you study abroad. Some programs require prior knowledge of the language while others do not. In my program, we did not need to know Chinese before going. Although I learned a lot of the language while in China, I wish that I had at least known some key phrases. It would have been easier my first couple of days there to be able to communicate effectively. My advice is to take into account what country you will study abroad in. If they speak your native language, then it will be less problematic to get around compared to those countries that barely speak your language at all. Nevertheless, it will not hurt to know some of the language.
    4 answers – Before You Leave
  10. Although I studied in China, which is a communist and third world country, I did not face any problems studying abroad there. As one of the largest booming economies, I had easy access to every American and European product. Most of the items located in third world countries are very cheap so you do not have to worry so much about budgeting your money. However, also in most third world countries, some facilities, such as westernized toilets, were not very common. But, they are available! I found that studying abroad in a third world country was very safe and the people were very friendly. You just need to be conscious of yourself and your surroundings at all times, like you should be at home.
    2 answers – Deciding On A Program
  11. I had these same concerns of leaving my family and friends behind. However, I realized that all the people and events I thought I would miss turned out to be exactly the same when I returned home. No matter how long you are gone, family and friends will always be there for you no matter what. Nothing can beat the experiences and friendships you gain while abroad. If anything you expand yourself as a person by going outside of your daily routine. You are traveling, learning from others, and gaining valuable assets that you will need later on in life, such as appreciation and tolerance.
    4 answers – Before You Leave
  12. My advice is to never eat anything that may appear questionable. If you feel that the food is not properly cooked or you may get sick, do not eat it! Be aware of eating food from the streets since you do not know where the food has been. If possible, watch the people cook your food for you. Also, if you have any hesitations, ask the waiter or waitress. Ultimately, just make your own judgment before eating.
    4 answers – Health
  13. Before traveling abroad to China, I thought that I would constantly have to watch over my purse in fear of being pick-pocketed. However, I found that this was very rare. I learned that your safety all depends on your surroundings and the people you are with. Obviously, in crowded areas, you should pay more attention to your belongings. Also, make sure that you are constantly with someone, especially if you do not know the language. However, if you feel comfortable enough to walk by yourself, let someone else know where you are going, just to be safe. In China, I would take taxis and subways on my own and I felt completely safe. Just know your surroundings! Another piece of advice is to get a cell phone while abroad. This way, people will have easy access to you and you can call someone if you are ever in any danger.
    9 answers – Deciding On A Program – Gender – Safety Issues – While Abroad
  14. First, I would get as much information about the study abroad program from advisors and those who did the program before you approach your parents. Once you do this, write down all the reasons why you want to study abroad, whether it is to travel, meet new people, or experience a different way of life. Tell them the benefits of studying abroad on your personal growth and career. Also, after speaking with your financial aid advisor, tell them the means of paying for studying abroad. Lay out the plan to them. In the end, let your parents know how studying abroad will make you a better person that how the skills you gain there will help you over your lifetime.
    5 answers – For African Americans – For Asian/ Pacific Americans – For Hispanic/ Latin@ – For Native Americans
  15. Although you do not have to be an expert on the country you are studying abroad in, it is helpful to know some information about the country. When first arriving, this will help you to adjust faster. This way, when living in the country you will not be completely lost. Knowledge about the country will help you to interact with the people and gain a better understanding of some of the traditions and normal routines of the people’s daily lives.
    7 answers – For African Americans – For Asian/ Pacific Americans – For Hispanic/ Latin@ – Before You Leave – For Native Americans
  16. No. I never felt threatened because I was a woman. Everyone there was very respectful and they did not treat you differently because you were a certain gender.
    4 answers – Gender – Safety Issues
  17. Some of the major benefits of studying abroad in a first world country are that most facilities, goods, and ways of living are completely westernized-- so you are used to it. In addition, many people speak English so you will not have a difficult time going around the city on your own.
    3 answers – Deciding On A Program
  18. My advice for those on a tight budget is to be aware of how much you are spending throughout the day. Everyday some of my friends would write in a notebook or excel document what goods they bought and how much they spent on them. This way they were able to keep track of how much money they could allocate towards traveling, shopping, etc. The best advice though is to spend your money wisely. It is okay to splurge once in awhile, especially if it is to travel, but make sure that you have enough for other expenses too. Decide on which expenses are necessary and which are not.
    6 answers – Budgeting
  19. Ever since I was a sophomore in college, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. I knew that I would be busy my junior year so I could not study abroad that year. Thus, I planned it for the fall of my senior year. I found that even though I studied abroad my last year in college, it was definitely worth it. I gained so much from studying abroad. I learned how to be independent, be open-minded about different cultures, and make friends from around the world. The friendships and memories I made while studying abroad will last a lifetime and I am truly grateful for this experience.
    6 answers – Personal
  20. I have always been interested in traveling and studying other cultures and languages. Ever since I was little, my parents have encouraged me to travel. I feel that traveling helps to expose you to new environments and people. Majoring in Sociology, I learn about different cultures and social structures. I believe that study abroad is a good experience to apply knowledge I learned in the classroom to the outside world. This is why when I heard about studying abroad, I knew that I immediately wanted to take part in this experience. Also, I felt that studying abroad would be a great opportunity to make new friends and to gain new insights before graduating in a couple of months.
    9 answers – Personal
  21. Studying abroad in China, I felt that the Chinese were extremely friendly and polite to everyone. As a growing economy, which caters to more foreigners, China was very welcoming. I was treated similarly to the local people in certain aspects. Although I am not Chinese, most people thought that I was. Therefore, as an Asian American, the local people held expectations of me. They thought that I would know the language and some of the cultural traditions. Sometimes, these expectations were frustrating because they made it more difficult to communicate with the people in my classes, stores, restaurants, etc. It was especially hard in China to state my aggravations because the people barely speak English and it is looked down upon to deny societal norms of obedience and respect. When I would speak English with my “American accent” in a local environment, such as the streets, people would stare strangely at me. I found that my Asian American friends experienced these same expectations. My advice is to just be aware that if you look like a native citizen of the country, you will possibly have to encounter expectations being held of you.
    12 answers – Racism – Gender – While Abroad
  22. I feel that I gained new perspectives on other cultures around the world. I not only learned how people from other states approach certain issues, but how other countries see these issues as well. What I most learned is that despite our differences, everyone from around the world is the same regardless of their ethnic or national makeup. Everyone wants to be successful, to have fun, and be happy. If anything, through study abroad, I made friends from all over the world that I can visit now and learn even more about their culture.
    8 answers – Personal
  23. From the very beginning, once I landed in China, I felt comfortable. It was not hard for me to adjust, especially since during the first month our program traveled across the Silk Road. The Silk Road was a journey that Marco Polo took across China when learning about the trading system. Traveling, and making lots of friends helped to distract my mind from missing home. By the time we got back from the Silk Road trip, this made it even easier to adjust to my normal environment in Beijing. My advice is to just keep yourself busy, build strong friendships, and do not be afraid of immersing yourself in the culture. This is the only way that you will get through your study abroad experience and make the most out of it.
    5 answers – While Abroad
  24. No. I never felt threatened because I was a woman. Everyone there was very respectful and they did not treat you differently because you were a certain gender.
    2 answers – Gender
  25. A pesar de que yo estudié en la China, que un país comunista y del tercer mundo, no tuve ningún problema estudiando allí. Como es una de las más grandes y prósperas economías, no era difícil conseguir a cualquier producto que necesitara ya sea europeo o americano. La mayoría de artículos en cualquier país del tercer mundo (país marginado) son baratos así que no tienes que preocuparte mucho de administar tu dinero. Sin embargo, también en la mayoría de los países del tercer mundo, algunas instalaciones, como baños al estilo occidenal no son muy comunes. ¡Pero están disponibles! Yo descubrí que estudiar en el exterior en un país del tercer mundo es muy seguro y que la gente es muy amigable. Solamente tienes que ser consciente de ti y de tus alrededores en todo momento.
    2 respuestas – Decidiéndose por un programa
  26. Aunque los gastos no deben afectar nuestra elección sobre donde ir a estudiar, yo siento que uno debe realmente tomarlos en cuenta cuando considera a donde viajar. Ya sea que el valor del cambio sea más alto o más bajo que el de la moneda de tu propio país, esto afecta cuanto puedes viajar y cuanto puedes gastar en “recuerdos” o regalos y comida etc. Si no tienes un plan de comida o vivienda (hospedaje) incluido en el estudio de tu viaje al exterior, deberías tomar esto en consideración. Para mi, a pesar de que el hospedaje estaba incluido en el viaje en mi programa, la comida no lo estaba. Por suerte, el cambio de la moneda china es mucho más bajo que el del dólar americano, entonces casi no gasté en comida. Mi consejo es que pienses como puedes realisticamente gastar y cuidar tu dinero y al mismo tiempo vivir confortablemente y divertirte. A cualquier lugar que viajes, recuerda que administrar y gastar tu dinero sabiamente es muy importante.
    3 respuestas – Preocupaciones: antes de salir
  27. Mi consejo para la gente que tiene un presupuesto limitado es que sea consciente de lo que gasta durante el día. Unos amigos mios (que estaban en el programa conmigo) escribían diariamente en un pequeño cuaderno y/o un documento Excel qué compraban y cuánto gastaban. De esta manera ellos pudieron saber siempre cuánto estaban gastando en viajes, compras, etc. Pero el mejor consejo es gastar el dinero cuidadosamente. Está bien comprarte algo especial de vez en cuando especialmente si es para el viaje pero asegúrate que tengas suficiente para otros gastos también. Decide cuales gastos son necesarios y cuales no lo son.
    2 respuestas – Como costear/financiar
  28. Estudiando en el exterior, en la China, yo sentí que los chinos eran extraordinariamente amigables y educados con todos. Como una nueva economia que atiende a más extranjeros, China es muy un lugar muy abierto al turismo (a los turistas). En algunos aspectos, me trataron como a la gente local. Aunque yo no soy china, la mayoría pensaba que yo lo era así que como una asiática-americana la gente local esperaba algo diferente de mi – ellos creían que yo sabía el idioma y algunas de las tradiciones culturales. A veces aquellas expectativas me frustraban porque hacían más difícil la comunicación con la gente en mis clases, en las tiendas, etc. Era especialmente difícil en la China expresar mis fastidious porque la gente habla muy poco inglés y realmente se desprecia a quien niega las normas sociales de obediencia y respeto. Cuando yo hablaba inglés con mi acento americano en un lugar como la calle, la gente extrañada me miraba. Encontré que mis amigos asiático-americanos experimentaban lo mismo. Mi consejo es que tengas en cuenta que si pareces un ciudadano nativo del país, posiblemente tendrás que afrontar diferentes expectativas.
    2 respuestas – Preocupaciones: antes de salir – Preocupaciones: durante la estadía
  29. Aunque los gastos no deben afectar nuestra elección sobre donde ir a estudiar, yo siento que uno debe realmente tomarlos en cuenta cuando considera a donde viajar. Ya sea que el valor del cambio sea más alto o más bajo que el de la moneda de tu propio país, esto afecta cuanto puedes viajar y cuanto puedes gastar en “recuerdos” o regalos y comida etc. Si no tienes un plan de comida o vivienda (hospedaje) incluido en el estudio de tu viaje al exterior, deberías tomar esto en consideración. Para mi, a pesar de que el hospedaje estaba incluido en el viaje en mi programa, la comida no lo estaba. Por suerte, el cambio de la moneda china es mucho más bajo que el del dólar americano, entonces casi no gasté en comida. Mi consejo es que pienses como puedes realisticamente gastar y cuidar tu dinero y al mismo tiempo vivir confortablemente y divertirte. A cualquier lugar que viajes, recuerda que administrar y gastar tu dinero sabiamente es muy importante.
    4 respuestas – Como costear/financiar – Preocupaciones: antes de salir
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