Thien Mai

Thien enjoying the bassin d'Arcachon in France.

Thien enjoying the bassin d’Arcachon in France.

Thien studied abroad in London, England and Bordeaux, France. He is currently a senior at the University of Tennessee and will be graduating in May with a degree in Supply Chain Management.

Where do you go to school?

The University of Tennessee

When and where did you study abroad?

Spring 2011 – London, England (Global Leadership Scholars Program)

Spring 2013 – Bordeaux, France (Bordeaux Ecole du Management)

What was the BEST part about studying abroad?

What I love the most about being abroad is the opportunity to immerse myself in a foreign language and culture. The things I have learned while doing so are invaluable as they could not have been taught within the confinements of the classroom. Being able to travel around Europe also has great perks. There is no feeling like setting foot in a foreign city for the first time, getting lost, and stumbling upon the most charming places while trying to find the way.

What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?

I learned a lot about who I am while exploring the world. Marcel Proust once wrote, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” And that is exactly what I’ve done – I’ve learned to look at the world from a different point of view; I’ve learned to understand people in the context of their own cultures. Most importantly, I’ve learned that the world is a playground, waiting for the child in me to discover.

What was your BIGGEST challenge while studying abroad and how did you manage to handle it?

The hardest thing for me from the experience is the realization that the places and faces that I have grown to love will one day be gone. That’s also the beauty of life, though. For me, knowing that those things will one day be but a distant memory allows me to truly embrace life with all the intents and efforts that I have. The upside of leaving, though, is that the relationships we have with each other will be forever cherished, and that sunshine and kisses are often sent across the ocean to that small town in southern France.

How did studying abroad change your life?

Being abroad has helped me to become a more well-rounded person. As a business major, it is extremely important for me to develop my communicating skills across culture, especially in today’s global marketplace.

What are your future plans?

I am currently a senior at the University of Tennessee, and will be graduating in May with a degree in Supply Chain Management.  I am currently in the process of interviewing for full-time jobs.

What’s your BEST piece of advice for someone who is thinking about studying abroad?

Go. Get lost. Have the time of your life. Oh, and, the Starbucks in Geneva is THE WORST. 8 francs for a coffee? #bye

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