“The World is a Book…”
…and those who do not travel read only a page.” -St. Augustine
I grew up with parents who love to travel. They adore setting foot in unfamiliar places; my mom always walking ahead excitedly, pointing out peculiar, interesting sights. A few steps behind, my dad furiously snaps pictures of anything and everything. Together, they explore winding streets, pore over monuments and artifacts, savor authentic delicacies, mingle with locals, and discuss and debate over all the things they’ve seen, heard, and touched that day. And every moment, I have been lucky enough to follow them.
My passion for traveling was ignited by my family at a very early age, and it has greatly shaped the person I am today. With each new place I visit, I put myself into someone else’s shoes and see how they live their life. From simple comparisons, like breakfast foods and clothing styles, to more complex cultural differences, like business practices and family/gender roles, the findings are always enlightening and eye-opening. I am constantly amazed, surprised, and humbled by the various cultures I come across, and I always wish I could spend time actually living in these different places. With this wish in mind, I knew that I wanted to attend a school like USC that would continue to broaden my global perspective with vast study abroad opportunities.
A year later, and I’m happy to say that my dream has come true in some respects. This past summer, I was able to secure a two month internship in Shanghai, China through the Marshall School of Business. However, it was the first time I was exploring a dynamic metropolis without my travel-expert parents. I won’t pretend that it wasn’t tough because adjusting to a completely new setting is extremely grueling and frustrating at times. But I quickly fell in love with Shanghai because it felt like I was FINALLY living like a local. When I wasn’t in the office, I would literally spend hours just wandering narrow alleys and streets, letting myself get lost among the hundreds of cafes, bars, restaurants, art galleries, craft shops, design studios, boutiques, and more.
My summer in Shanghai was easily the most incredible summer I’ve ever had. It taught me valuable lessons about global business, cultural differences, and my own personal growth. But most importantly, it made me into a unique individual who takes the things she has seen, the people she’s interacted with, and the places she’s been, to approach life. Because our personal experiences greatly shape who we are, experiences from traveling are among the most important and impactful. In my own case, traveling has made a me more appreciative, inquisitive, and open-minded individual, and for that, I hope to continue reading more “pages” of the world.