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Lang Duong

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Psychology (BS) and EXSS (General)
Program: Boston University Summer Internship
Location: Sydney, Australia
Term: Summer 2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
During my undergraduate experience, I wanted to experience what studying abroad was like. I figured that I would have no other chance to live independently in a foreign country without the expectation of sustaining myself. When choosing where I wanted to study, I was very sure that I wanted to go to Australia. All of the European countries were places I could see myself going to for vacation. I also saw myself going to all of the Asian countries since I would definitely go to Vietnam at some point in my life. However, I couldn't find a reason why I would make it to the other side of the planet just to go to Australia. Therefore, what better reason to go to Australia than to study abroad?


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I depended on my social support system (family and friends) much more than I had realized. Before departing for Australia, I was so excited to finally leave and have a "getaway". It took 10,000+ miles away and a 14 hour time difference to realize how integral each of my friends and family members were to my life. I thought I was already extremely independent, however, this program showed me I still had a long way to go. There were days where I had to live on my own and by myself without interacting with anybody. I found out that those days aren't bad, though.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
There was one night that me and my friend planned spontaneously. We had just gotten home to our apartment from our internships and decided we didn't want to go clubbing or anything. Instead, we went out to our favorite Vietnamese place to get dinner. We decided to take a train to Luna Park, a beautiful amusement park across the Sydney Harbor. We went not to ride any rides, but just to enjoy the environment. Then we took a walk along the harbor that faced the skyline of Sydney and the view was just breathtaking. We walked back across the entire Sydney Harbor Bridge and ended our night at an Asian dessert place we stumbled upon. These were the types of memories I lived for.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Don't go into the program expecting to like everyone or get along with everyone on your program. Be selective about who you want to hang out with and those friends will last a lifetime. I had the expectation that I would be friends with everyone and never go hanging out without someone present. The first two weeks I realized I didn't share the same morals or values with a majority of the people on my program except one. Those first two weeks where I tried to fake my personality in order to associate with a group I didn't like much made my first couple weeks the worst out of the whole program. I finally found one person I loved to hang out with and she made the rest of my weeks in Australia some of the best memories I have ever had.


Would you do it again?
Yes. A million times yes.


How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?
I recently changed my career path from pre-med to a focus on psychology. I was unsure whether or not I wanted to go into therapy or social work; actually, I was afraid I made a mistake in choosing psychology over pre-med. For the past 6 years of my life, I had the plan to go to medical school but I made the decision to switch in just a month. My parents always wondered where my impulsivity had come from and of course I polarized this view by impulsively applying to a psychology internship in Australia for the summer. The exposure this internship gave me in a psychology ward environment gave me the validation I sought and now I am more sure of the field I want to go into more than ever.


How do you identify?
Student of color