Stephanie Dickerson

Hometown: Tipton, Indiana
College: Health and Human Sciences
Major: Hospitality and Tourism Management

Coming from a small town in the Midwest there is little to no diversity and nothing out of the ordinary ever happens in Tipton, Indiana. I have always wanted to travel and meet new people, not just go on exotic vacations but to actually experience different cultures and feel like I was part of their world. The first chance I got to travel I took immediately; spending three months working at a summer camp in Maine where I worked with people from a variety of countries. This is when I discovered the importance of learning about other environments and cultures. Before this experience I did not think that studying abroad was for me; I thought I was lucky to be able to afford college and did not ever dream of being able to afford a study abroad program. After working at the summer camp, I felt by not studying abroad I would be depriving myself of a crucial opportunity and limiting myself on what I have to offer others.

I applied for the China Internship and Study Abroad program though Purdue University. After a long application process and several interviews I was accepted for my college’s highly competitive study abroad program. To pay for the total program expenses, which will be approximately 10,000 dollars, I have been working two part time jobs, taken out loans, and have been applying for numerous scholarships. This program will allow me to spend six months in Suzhou, China, immersed in Chinese cultures and lifestyles, while working with the Shangri-La hotel, and obtaining 12 credit hours towards my major. Weekly courses in Mandarin will provide me the chance to communicate with the locals and learn more about their history and daily lives. To give back to China for this valuable experience, I will be participating in the hotel’s monthly “English-speaking” sessions; which will give me the opportunity to teach English to hotel employees.

As a young adult it is important to shape my own opinions and beliefs about the world. I believe that having an international experience will improve my professional growth by allowing me to view hospitality the way the Chinese do. Studying Abroad will allow me to better communicate with and manage a multicultural workforce. I believe that by participating in this international experience I will gain the ability and awareness to make a larger impact on the world as a better globalized citizen.

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