Tony Miller

Personal Discovery

Cultural Discovery

Social Discovery

Read how Tony discovered ping pong, Mandarin and himself studying abroad in China!











Semester Abroad: Spring 2009

Home University: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Host University: Sichuan University


1) What sparked your interest in China?

Funny enough, my interest in China started when I found a job working in a Chinese restaurant. My boss and the cooks were all Chinese and spending time with them made me more and more interested in China. They would teach me how to cook Chinese food and helped me learn some Chinese phrases. I always had fun with them having dinner, playing basketball, even working. I started liking the language and culture more and more and decided to pursue it in school.

2) What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself during your time abroad?

Since I got to China I have learned more about myself and culture that I never really thought about before. There are things I do not notice in the U.S. because the others around me are behaving in the same way. The culture and way of life in China are so different that it gives me an easy way to notice my own characteristics. We are always taught that in the West people concentrate more on the self than on others but I did not fully realize what that meant until I arrived here. It was the simple things like serving food, sharing belongings, or taking turns playing games that made me realize this. Doing things in the way we are taught to do them at home made me feel and most likely look a bit selfish here. There are many small differences that add up but there was nothing about myself that I could not slightly change or bend to fit in to the culture.

3) In what ways do you like to spend your free time there?

Chengdu is really large so we would spend a lot of free time just wandering around the campus and the city. Just by walking around in random areas of the city we were able to see something new and interesting everyday. Besides traveling, studying, and going to class we spent most of our time playing ping pong. There are ping pong tables in the dorms and there are countless tables outside. We would either play ping pong together in the dorms with the dormitory guards or we would go out and play with the locals.


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