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Ashton Vermillion

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Major: Media Journalism, Minor: Entrepreneurship
Program: Shuford Away Program in Shanhai, China
Location: Shanghai, China
Term: Summer 2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad in Shanghai because it was a wonderful opportunity to do something out of my comfort zone and set me a part from others who did not get this unique life-changing, once in a lifetime experience.


What did you learn about yourself?
During the summer of 2019, I traveled to Shanghai, China through the UNC Shuford Entrepreneurship in Shanghai program. This program changed my life, and I grew in ways I never thought possible--I felt like a new person returning to the U.S. with a lot of new insights and skills. I learned that I am stronger than I thought, and I can defeat all odds if I believe in myself. Being in a new culture taught me a lot about who I am and made me appreciate aspects of both Chinese and American culture and celebrate these differences. I learned a lot about Chinese culture that I could not have learned in a classroom. Their culture is one that cares a lot about people as a whole and not on an individual level. They put others before themselves, want everyone to be treated fairly and with respect, and in the work environment, they are more than happy to help you with whatever assignment you need help with, even if that means stopping their own assignment to do so. While in China, I was a social media intern for a start-up company called Guiddoo World. This internship challenged me in so many ways because it required me to single-handedly run the start-up's Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Email Marketing, which was a lot more than I anticipated doing. I initially thought I would be working under someone else who was hired full-time, but it turned out that they didn't have anyone hired for the full-time position; therefore, I assumed this role even though I was technically only an intern. Although it was hard to manage my internship and school work load, I learned that I can do so successfully when I put my mind to it. Also, I had to train a Chinese intern to translate all my graphics and captions into Chinese which was a challenging experience that made me grow a lot as a person. I learned more from this Chinese intern than anyone else in China because he was absolutely inspiring and very knowledgeable. Ultimately, traveling to China made me realize that I am more capable than I think I am, and I am prepared to handle any further abroad experience because of all the skills I gained from living in Shanghai.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from gong to Shanghai was going on this boat ride around the Bund with all the other people who were on my program and it was so much fun. This experience allowed me to get a great view of the city and get to know the other incredible students on my program.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Before leaving for your study abroad program, I would research the place a lot before you go so that you can be more familiar with what to do if uncertainties arise. For example, applicants should research the typical food, transportation systems and necessary aids they might need to bring to help them best adjust to the the culture of Shanghai, China. I would also advise to look over cultural differences between China and the U.S. so that I am able to communicate and present myself in a way that is respectable among the Chinese community. I would also research on the Shuford Entrepreneurship Program website as well as talk to students who have completed this program in the past before leaving for your study abroad program. This way you will feel more comfortable reaching out to a former student if a problem arises that you need their advice about while you are in abroad. In addition, I would talk to the study abroad advisors about any suggestions they have regarding how to best prepare for the trip and select the internship that best matches my academic and career goals. I would use the Shuford Entrepreneurship resources to figure out the necessary steps I need to take in order to be easily adaptable and well equipped to be successful while I am abroad.