For International Education Week, To Broadway and Beyond is recognizing international students, staff and faculty at Transylvania.
Emine Shinjatari, Albania
I always knew that I wanted to attend college in another country that wasn’t my home. The reason for this is that I have always liked to challenge myself and tried to experience new things that would lead to my growth and development as a person.
Coming to America was difficult for me, not because it was a completely different country and culture from what I was used to, but because I was going to be away from my family. However, studying abroad has been the best decision of my life.
I have learned so much about American culture, and my English has gotten so much better. I have experienced things that I had only seen in the movies back home, and I finally got to live it in person. I have gotten to know so many amazing people that have impacted my life and I have grown so much as a person.
Juncheng Zhang, China
There is a Chinese saying: “Weed out the dross and select the best.” (取其精华，去其糟粕 [pingyin: qǔ qí jīng huá qù qí zāo pò]) It means that one must critically examine what is good and what is bad while learning something new.
In a new culture where everything has that refreshing foreignness, one could easily lose their sense of critical thinking, falling into the newcomer illusion that everything that is working and is good in one culture should be applied to their own culture or themselves. Granted, it is also mistaken to think that one’s own culture is, by default, applicable to other people. That is the kind of mindset that falls into the trap of thinking that one culture is perfect, while, in fact, no one single culture is.
An international education washes away that kind of ignorance.
To Broadway and Beyond is a student-managed blog from the Transylvania study abroad program. Emine Shinjatari is a sophomore majoring in international affairs and political science from Albania. Juncheng Zhang is a junior majoring in international affairs from Changsha, China.