UMD: A Globally Connected University

Jim Zhang

Program: UMD Exchange: Waseda University
Term: Full-Year 2013

I acquired even higher language proficiency in Japanese. A year in Japan gave me even higher level of organizing skill, teamwork and diverse mindset. I also fell in love with this place, and set my goal as going to graduate school in Tokyo after finishing my undergraduate degree.

Advice for future #Terps Abroad: Don't limit yourself or feel as though you are limited in any way! There are so many options-- that don't always have to be traditional. Seek the correct information from resources from MyEA or academic advisors and go on your way!

I made a lot of Japanese friends, and I know that our friendship will last for a very long time. Before the start of my journey, a lot of people will ask me something like, "Why do you go to Japan? The people there might not be friendly to you if you are a Chinese" or "It is kind of unimaginable for a Chinese to go to Japan". Frankly speaking, even though I speak Japanese and had some Japanese friends before going to that country, I still had similar concern. But that wasn't the case at all. Of course we had conflicts. Of course we had disagreements. But above all we overcame those arguments and became friends. Each story was different, but the experience provided me a message that will impact me for life: People from different cultures can learn to overcome bias, understand, and live with each other. Before labeling others with a specific cultural background, we are human beings.

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Learn to accept the difference. Learn to agree to disagree. Learn to embrace and overcome the frustrations when you are there. Learn to cope with disillusions that you will experience. Learn to enjoy life All of those emotions, events will be a part of your memory, and a part of you that you will miss forever.