An Ambassador Lost in Asia

Every underclassmen has heard it at least once: “You have to go abroad.” The declaration is usually followed by long-winded stories of getting lost on a train somewhere in Europe and eating a local delicacy that turned out to be pig’s brains. Allow me to explain why studying abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong was the best decision I made during my time at USC.

U of HK

On January 1st, 2015, I rang in the new year by boarding a 16-hour flight from JFK International Airport in my hometown of New York to a foreign and unknown land: Hong Kong. I had no idea what was to come over the following four months, but boy was I excited. Upon landing, I was immediately confused. Nobody at the airport spoke English. My cell phone didn’t work (Every COMM student’s nightmare). I couldn’t find my USC greeting party. These would be the first of many situations in which I was taken out of my comfort zone and, looking back on it, I couldn’t be more grateful for them. Learning how to thrive in an uncomfortable environment has prepared me to build better relationships, overcome ambiguity at various internships, and chase success in my academic endeavors.

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One particular experience that sticks with me was walking through the jungle in Vietnam: Our guide spotted a large, beautiful snake on ground and put it around his neck. He insisted that the snake was friendly, and offered to put it around our necks also. I was very hesitant as a fear of snakes runs in my family line, but after some convincing, I put the creature right on my shoulders and even managed to crack a smile!

While this kind of personal growth is possible in a number of regions in the world, Asia has the added benefits of being fun and accessible. During my time abroad, in addition to adventuring within the amazing city of Hong Kong, I had the opportunity to travel to China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, The Philippines, and Japan. All of these countries are relatively close to one another and it’s always easy to find cheap flights. You’ll get to experience new cuisines, ways of life, and some of the friendliest people on the planet.

If you (somehow!) have any doubts about studying abroad, just want to discuss details of the experience, or have any other questions about USC, I am always available at [email protected] 再见

Jonathan Delman, Your Admissions Ambassador

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