An interview with Bingxin Zhang, a sophomore majoring in advertising. Bingxin participated in the Alternative Spring Break program in South Dakota in 2018 and heads to Washington DC this year as part of the 2019 program.
What is your favorite Alternative Spring Break (ASB) memory?
One of my favorite memories is the sweat lodge ceremony. I remember when we were in South Dakota, the sweat lodge was flooded. We had to shovel the ice and drain the water. It was a lot of hard work. By the end of the day, every muscle was screaming. However, the moment I laid down in the sweat lodge, all the hard work paid off. We were surrounded by several tribe leaders, the drum was deafening, and the chant was spiritual. It was truly a moment that no words can describe, and it was a moment that I would never have experienced if I didn’t participate in ASB.
In what ways do students make a difference while traveling for ASB? What is the positive impact?
We don’t expect to change the world, but we want to make it better little by little, not only by doing service work for the community, but also by being there to learn. The best way to understand a community is to stay and spend time with the community. When we come back, it is important to share our experience with others who don’t have a chance to go. It is important to bring new perspectives to open up the world.
What are the causes that you care about?
I am an international student and have been in the United States for almost two years. However, I haven’t really had experience interacting with people and cultures that are outside of my living area. ASB changed that and now I am aware of the fact that there are so many social issues that people are facing. I want to put my effort into making the world a better place.
What other activities, clubs, and leadership positions are you involved with on campus?
I am involved in three clubs, LEAP (Lares Engagement and Programming), ASA (Asian Student Association), and Soul Harmony. I have two on-campus jobs, at SEAL (Student Engagement and Leadership) and the Office of Global Programs. I am also a Lion Ambassador in training.
How has Penn State Abington supported you as a student to learn and travel?
Penn State Abington provided me with access to all kinds of opportunities. There are so many events on campus that offer great resources, such as career development, study abroad fairs and time management and planning courses. Travel is supported through grants and financial aid as well.
What are your dreams and future plans?
I want to become a great communicator. As a communication student, I still have a long way to go. I want to be able to express my opinions in a proper and powerful way. I want to be heard.
What else do you want to share with your fellow classmates and Abington alumni?
Coming to the United States and Penn State Abington were two of the most random and unprepared decisions I have made, but also two of the greatest decisions I have made.