Gracie Johnson poses with colorful architecture

I really enjoyed being immersed in Asian culture. This is something I have never had the opportunity to experience until now. I grew up in a very non-diverse area of the U.S., with the majority of my community having a western European heritage. This study abroad experience allowed me to learn about Hong Kong culture, as well as the cultures of the other places I visited and the people I met.

I was lucky enough to room with a local student and two girls from the Netherlands, one native and one with ties to Hong Kong. This was a beautiful opportunity to make friends from all over the world and learn about their perspectives and how their different upbringings shaped their lives. It was also fun to hear about why the students chose to study abroad in Hong Kong and how they felt about that decision throughout the semester as the political situation escalated and as we all made deeper personal connections with people there and the city itself.

The culture I took in over the course of this semester has very much impacted how I will interact with people from different backgrounds in my life. I have a new understanding and appreciation for the Asian cultures I have experienced. I plan to share my experiences and encourage others to see these cultures in a positive light. Many people I have connected with before this experience also had no immersion in Asian culture. I would now encourage everyone to travel to Asia to experience the amazing culture for themselves as well as the beautiful nature, tasty food, and interesting people.

This experience has also left me with the urge to travel throughout the rest of Asia that I was unable to see. I look forward to learning and traveling more throughout this culturally packed continent.