As an Asian American, growing up I spoke what I coined as “Chinglish.” Phrases like “wo zai zuo wo de homework” or “ni xiang chi shen me for lunch” were just thrown around without a second thought. It was not until I began studying Chinese in a classroom setting that I realized how dependent I’ve become to the fusion that I created. It was second nature for me to switch between the two languages. However, for proper communication, I know I have to master the two languages separately.
Another thing in my bucket list is to travel the world: I visited places like New Orleans, Boston, San Diego, Chicago, and New York City, but I’ve always wanted to travel on a global scale, which is why last summer I volunteered abroad in Poland. I taught English to Polish students and in return, they shared their culture with me. I love visiting new places, seeing new landmarks, eating their foods, and interacting with the locals. Which is why this summer, before my study abroad begins in Shanghai, I plan to visit Hong Kong.
I am going to be junior at the University of Texas at Austin this fall. Double majoring in Human Biology and Health & Society is not only a mouthful but also means a full schedule. It’s been really challenging to find the time for all my classes. Luckily, I love puzzles, and creating my academic schedule is like putting all the pieces together. A criterion for Health and Society is the foreign language requirement. Because language classes are typically more time intensive, it’s been hard to find a place for it within all my other classes and labs. Studying abroad over the summer not only allows me to get the credit I need to graduate but also truly learn the language in and outside the classroom setting.
Seeing as I want to become an ophthalmologist in the future, I have to see beyond just giving diagnoses and writing prescriptions. I have to understand my patients. I should be able to communicate efficiently with them, to understand their concerns, and have them listen to my recommendations. A language barrier can cause so much crucial information to be lost in translation. There’s also the cultural understanding: I have to have my patients’ best interest in mind. This includes knowing their preferences and comfort levels since they’re already in an uncomfortable situation. Because let’s admit it: no one actually enjoys going to the doctor.
By studying abroad, I not only get a grasp of the language, but I’m actually immersed in the culture. I will also be interning, which gives me a chance to peek into what could potentially be my future!
If you had not already realized, my last name is Vuong and I love puns; therefore, I combined these two to create the word ‘adVUONGture’. Feel free to check out this hashtag on Instagram and give me a follow (very subtle plug… I know). I cannot wait for what is to come!
This post was contributed by Melodie Vuong, a 2019 Global Ambassador.
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