Why did you decide to study abroad with Loyola University Chicago?
Sean: The Beijing Center made is really easy for me to study abroad. Since my university has a relationship with the program I was able to spend two semesters abroad and still graduate on time.
I was drawn to the program for its mix of travel and academics. I didn't want to do a typical European study abroad; I knew that living in China would push me outside of my comfort zone and force me to grow as a person.
Describe your most meaningful souvenir and why you love it?
Sean: The item I most frequently return to from my time is China is a copy of 1984 that I bought from an illegal book vendor in Beijing. Reading a banned book in an authoritarian country was an odd experience, and I connected with Orwell on a whole new level after exploring his works in this context.
Describe your program socially and academically.
Sean: I pushed myself academically while studying abroad. I sought out the more rigorous classes the Beijing Center had to offer, and I am glad I did. Studying China while living in Beijing was an extraordinary opportunity, one that I will forever be grateful for. I made a few amazing friendships with my classmates, and I'm lucky to keep in touch with the to this day.
Do you think your program changed you as a person?
Sean: What would be the point of living if we didn't let life change us? I don't think anyone could live in a foreign country for several months and not be changed. Living in China shaped my perspective on the world, and this new outlook affects my life on a daily basis.
What is one piece of advice you'd give future Loyola University Chicago students?
Sean: Keep a blog! While studying abroad I used my blog to keep my friends and family up to date with where I was and what I was learning. Since I've returned it has become a useful tool in interviews and to look and reflect upon my time abroad.