Allison Candell

Where are you studying this summer?

Xiamem, China

How did you choose the location?

I knew I wanted to go to Asia because it was going to be an experience that really pushed me out of my comfort zone and would be something that would be really hard for me to replicate on my own.

What are you doing on the trip?

I am taking 3 classes (10 credits). One is a Chinese culture class which was incredibly interesting and gave me a greater context for the place I was living for 6 weeks. The next is a clean energy class which is mainly a discussion of nuclear power. This was something​ I had never thought about before so being able to learn about it but also visit nuclear power plants was completely eye opening. And finally I am taking physics 240 in a 4 week period.

I have gone on a variety of trips on the side to Taipei and Beijing. This weekend I will go to Hong Kong and after that the whole group spends some time in Shanghai.

Did anything surprise you?

I was surprised by the leadership role I was put into on some of the side trips that we went on. Normally when I travel my parents do most of the planning and I just sit back and enjoy the vacation. When we went to both Taipei and Beijing a small portion of my group went and we were completely responsible for planning the trip on our own. After seeing no one really take charge on the planning of the trip, I stepped up and took the lead on planning what to do, finding a hotel and generally making sure that things ran smoothly. It was something that is not my natural course of action to take charge but I am glad I did because both trips went really smoothly.

What was your favorite part of the trip?

Being able to meet other Michigan students I would have otherwise never met.

What is the biggest lesson you learned?

Sometimes it is okay to ask others for help and also to not know everything. I am pretty self sufficient in my personal life (especially after being at Michigan for a year) so it was hard for me at first to not even be able to ask what food I was eating. Through meeting native Chinese speakers, who helped me so much and just getting comfortable with the fact that I wasn't going to be able to understand or know everything that is going on, I began to have fun.

Allison Candell is a rising sophomore in the College of Engineering and is studying Computer Engineering. She will be a peer mentor in WISE RP next year.

Kaelan Oldani

Where are you studying abroad this summer? 

Shanghai, China

How did you choose the location?

I had never traveled abroad before and since this was going to be part of my university experience, I decided I wanted to go somewhere completely different and slightly out of my comfort zone. Shanghai also offered courses related to my major and minor so it seemed like a great option.

What are you doing on the trip?

I took two courses at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute and traveled all around China during my free time.

Did anything surprise you?

Traveling as a group of American students, we instantly became celebrities wherever we went with people constantly asking to take photos with us.

What is your favorite part of the trip so far?

Seeing the Bund lit up at night, going up into the Shanghai Tower, climbing mountains in Hangzhou, visiting tons of ancient gardens and water towns, channeling my inner child at Shanghai Disneyland... It is impossible to choose one favorite part from a 13-week long trip to the other side of the world.

What is the biggest lesson you learned?

Leaping outside of my comfort zone by traveling across the globe to a country where I do not speak the language or know any of the people was possibly the best choice of my life. Thus, I learned that taking certain risks can be very worthwhile.

Kaelan Oldani is a rising sophomore in the College of Engineering majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Physics. She will be a peer mentor in WISE RP next year.