Ever since I was a young girl growing up in China, I knew that one day I was destined to travel the world. I spent hours pondering what I would do with my life and how I would ever manage to leave my home country to realize my dreams of seeing more of the world. Being totally immersed my entire life in the Chinese culture, I was never afforded the opportunity to learn about any other cultures (other than what limited exposure I had to foreign television movies and series) or experience interaction with people from other countries. The older I became, the more determined I became to change my circumstances.
I learned how to speak English while I was a teenager in the hopes of attending a university in the United States. At the beginning of my senior year in high school, I decided to exercise my independence and moved out on my own. This is something that is virtually unheard of in my country-a teenager, and a female at that, living on her own. I decided to matriculate to the University of Washington Bothell in order to major in accounting. I have always loved math and numbers, so it seemed the logical choice as a major. I also knew that an accounting degree could open doors for me into the fascinating world of business. I became even more independent continuing to live by myself and working at a job in order to earn money so that I could provide all of the necessities of life for myself: food, rent, and a vehicle. I incorporated real world applications into my life to achieve this independence.

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I financed my own schooling with the assistance of several scholarships, but I took great pride in knowing that I did not have to ask my parents, friends or extended family members for any financial help whatsoever. I learned to live without the luxuries such as television that my peers so enjoyed. Ramen noodles and spaghetti became staples in my pantry as I learned to live well below my means. I learned to budget both my money and time and honed the fine art of balancing job and school. Yes, it was extremely difficult, and I had many moments of self doubt as to whether I would be successful. There were days when I wanted to call my parents and ask for just enough money to get me to the next payday, but I found a fortitude and determination within myself and never had to resort to asking my parents, or anyone else for that matter, for money. I persevered and learned to adapt quickly to any given situation while making sure that all of my needs were met.

By studying abroad in at the Global Business Center, or Foster School as it is known, I hope to further my knowledge of the business world on a global scale. This will assist me with working for a company after graduation that has locations throughout the world. I will also be able to broaden my professional horizons by learning about business and economics which will, in turn, make me more marketable as I begin to apply for positions upon graduation. I will be armed with the skills, knowledge and experience to be a successful accountant or business manager anywhere in the world. By living and studying in Rome, I will gain an understanding of a different culture while I continue to nurture my independence.

True independence that comes from paying one’s own way and not looking to parents, friends, or family for financial support, brings about a maturity more quickly than one could ever imagine. It encourages critical thinking and problem solving on a daily basis which will also serve me well as I travel to Rome and then, eventually, on to a career post graduation. With that independence also comes an undeniable self confidence born of a desire to succeed. I have reached that level of self confidence and am now literally ready to take on the world by continuing my studies abroad in Rome.

Although I speak fluent English and Chinese, I have been proactive and taken the initiative to begin learning the native language of the country in which I want to study. Learning to speak Italian will serve me well to help me get around the country and immerse myself in the rich culture of Italy. Being able to learn and grow in another culture is another goal of mine which will be served through this study abroad program. I look forward to meeting a host of new people from all over the world and learning from them just as they will learn from me. I want to be part of a global learning community both as an undergraduate and as a professional accountant or business manager. Working in teams to learn and problem solve is essential in today’s business world. This program will afford me the opportunity to not only work in teams, but to work in teams with people from all different cultures who have the same mindset as I have. Studying in Rome will help with my overall professional development and will enhance my skills needed for the 21st century global economy. I am also looking forward to learning in an entirely different pedagogical environment. I have spent the last three years learning in physical or online classrooms, and I want the experience of company visits to international companies to provide the international dimension that I currently lack.

I have no one but myself on whom to depend. It is my desire to continue fostering within myself the love of learning and accepting new exciting challenges. The study abroad experience will serve me well as I go out into the business profession upon completion of my degree.