Joann Huynh had no intention of studying abroad when she came to the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
“I had never been far from home or my parents, let alone out of the country,” says Huynh, of Chicago.
Yet, she found the new UW Global Gateway Program too enticing to pass up – a fully funded opportunity to study in China, the country her parents had left in the 1980s. So she applied to become one of 15 UW–Madison undergraduates to embark on a four-week, faculty-led experience in Shanghai this summer.
“When I was accepted to the program, my parents initially said ‘no’ to me going,” Huynh says. “I was expecting it, since from what they remember about China, it was unsanitary and dangerous. … It took a lot of convincing, but I was dead set on taking advantage of this opportunity.”
After spending a month in China, she reports, “I learned what it means to be a global citizen with an appreciation for different cultures, especially if you are coming into a new experience with preconceived notions.”
International Academic Programs (IAP), the study abroad unit of the Division of International Studies, developed the UW Global Gateway Program to engage undergraduates who might be curious about studying abroad, yet reluctant about plunging into an overseas academic experience.