Student shares her journey at Penn State Abington

Abington student story

Penn State Abington student Kate Chan visited Nagasaki while in Japan for a corporate communication course that included a brief study abroad component.

Credit: Penn State

Editor's note: Student Kate Chan is working in the Penn State Abington Office of Strategic Communications & Community Engagement this summer. She is a rising junior and will transfer to University Park in the fall to pursue a degree in public relations. Here she shares her experiences at Abington.

The first time I visited Penn State Abington, I saw the diversity and the openness of the people. I felt the enthusiasm from those who attended Abington during New Student Orientation, and I decided that I want to get a head start and begin my own experience by enrolling in summer classes. I built great relationships with a few friends and professors during the summer. 

Through my freshman year, I made a great number of friends and some of them are still the best friends I have today. I took every chance to engage around campus, including attending club meetings, events, trips to University Park, THON, a leadership conference, and many more. I also was part of the Abington orchestra as a violinist. 

During the school day, I worked in the library circulation desk, the information technology support center, and as a peer assistant. I also became a Global Buddy twice for students who visited Penn State Abington from Korea and Japan. The second year, I became a Global Buddy leader because I went to study abroad in Japan during spring break, and I wanted to be the one to give students a big welcome when they came to Abington. 

Abington Kate Chan

Kate Chan served as an Orientation Leader at Penn State Abington during the summer of 2018. 

Credit: Penn State

Study Abroad: Japan

I went to Japan for my three-credit corporate communication foreign study class. My experience in Japan was enlightening. I had the chance to explore the business world there and learned a lot about the backgrounds and stories of companies like Toyota and SAP. 

Before the trip, we met once a week to discuss stories from professors, talked with guest speakers who are working in the field of corporate communications, our expectations, experiences from those who had traveled, the corporate side of the visit, and much more. 

During the trip, we gained a better sense of the behind the scenes of how the business world works and how to build international relationships. I personally found it useful to expand my network outside of the United States because of how much I can learn from people with a completely different lifestyle than myself and how I can use that experience to improve myself.

The culture is very different from America, and the scenery is absolutely unique. I wasn't expecting good hotel food, but they have such an amazing variety — I was astonished. The hotel’s breakfast is Japanese style and British style. It was extremely healthy and delicious. 

Kate Chan Japan

Kate Chan with Japan's iconic cherry blossoms during her study abroad experience. 

Credit: Penn State

There were many great memories made within a week. Communication with the locals was a bit hard but, fortunately, we were guided by our Japanese Global Buddies. Many of us went around the city of Fukuoka with a buddy on our free time. 

There also were great relationships made with those with whom I traveled. I walked around Fukuoka with another student to find a ramen shop. We talked for hours and now every time we see each other, we greet each other in Japanese. 

During our time there, we went to Nagasaki, and the views above the mountains were breathtaking. The most interesting part for me was going to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. In August 1945 at 11:02 a.m., Americans dropped the atomic bomb, and most clocks that were found stopped at that exact time.

With the eagerness I had during my first year, I made the most out of my time at Penn State Abington. I created numerous valuable memories by extending my experience from just taking classes to participating around campus as much as I could. In the summer after my freshman year, I became an Orientation Leader because I wanted to share my experiences. I want students to recognize the importance of enjoying themselves while pursuing their goals at Penn State Abington.

About Penn State Abington
Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible, and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st century public higher education within a world-class research university. With nearly 4,000 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 19 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more.