In any application process, whether college, scholarship, or employment application process, the review committee is often looking for well-rounded applicants. College application gurus will go on and on about the inherent need for sports, community service, employment, excellent grades, and clubs. While I am not suggesting there is any one way to be professionally and personally successful, I have found personal success in college applications, and I believe it had to do with an experience not included in a traditional high school resume.
A complete education hinges on a study abroad experience. Having travelled to China in high school last year, I am grateful for my experience. Study abroad gives students awareness and a widened perspective on life. My peers and I realized how decisions can affect not only our communities, but the world. In addition, it instilled the idea that anything is possible if I work hard.
Professionally, my experience gave me a conversation starter and an aspect that made me stood out from other students and candidates. Since I learned about language, science, and culture, I am able to relate and present the experience in a variety of different essays and talks.
The experience is something I think about every day. In such a divisive world it was very interesting to experience something new with new people. I realized that beyond our differences in culture and practices, teenagers all over the world have quite a bit in common. We all liked to try the sweetest things, play games, watch movies, and overall having a good time. Study abroad opportunities are highly important for advancing Americans professionally and personally, for the good of America and the world.
Eryne Jenkins is a member of the East-West Center-US China Strong Guest Contributor Program.