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Reasons to Study Abroad

For Asian/ Pacific Islander Students

The face of America is rapidly changing, so is the rest of the world. Historically, many different ethnicities have had a major influence on shaping the United States. Asian and Pacific Islander cultures are no exception. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian population in the U.S. is projected to grow more than 200 percent in the next fifty years, from 3.8 percent to 8 percent. Furthermore, the Census Bureau also predicts that by the year 2100, ethnic minority groups in the United States will make up 60 percent of our country’s population, with a significant number being of Asian origin.

4Getting in touch with your family’s heritage can be another strong motivation to study abroad. Many Asian/Pacific Islander Americans report tremendous educational and personal benefits from exploring countries where their families have roots. Whether your family recently immigrated to the U.S. or has lived here for generations, and whether you are discovering your family’s culture for the first time or interested in learning more, study abroad can provide you with an opportunity to get in touch with your heritage and explore your own identity.

There is a distinct challenge Asian/Pacific Islander Americans face abroad. Many other cultures only have experience with Asian/Pacific Islander Americans through the American media (i.e. news, sports, music, and movies). Asian/Pacific Islander American students may become frustrated when stereotypes from home follow them overseas.

However, this is your chance to be an individual, as well as a representative of your culture, and to encourage positive understanding of global diversity.

Everywhere diversity is increasing. There is a growing importance for students in the U.S. to travel and study in other countries. The chance to live and study in another culture will provide you with the ultimate learning experience, as well as the perfect opportunity to get out and explore the world. With the realities of globalization today, the options Asian and Asian/ Pacific Islander students have for studying abroad are endless. Whether you choose to study in Barcelona or Beijing, Guatemala or Ghana, Delhi or Dublin, to explore your heritage or to immerse yourself in a different culture, studying abroad will be an experience that will change the way you see the world. There are countless reasons why you should participate in a study abroad program.

A number of Asian/ Pacific Islander Americans were strongly shaped by their international experiences, including:

  • Elaine L. Chao, 24th Secretary of Labor of the United States. As a former Director of the Peace Corps, she established the first Peace Corps programs in the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
  • Amy Tan, bestselling novelist and author of The Joy Luck Club, was born and raised in California, but finished her high school education in Montreux, Switzerland. She says, "When my feet touched China, I became Chinese. I knew I was not totally Chinese, but I felt the connection It was a sense of completeness, like having a mother and a father. I had China and America, and everything was all coming together finally."
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