In 2013, the DDCE and UT’s Study Abroad Office launched a Maymester program in Beijing that gives students from diverse backgrounds a world of experience—in academics, the working world and community service. We caught up with some alumni to learn more about the program, Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S. and China, and how they benefited from their adventures abroad.
Name: Antonio Adams (B.S., Radio-Television-Film, ’13)
Activities: Student African American Brotherhood, the Black Government Student Association, Black Government Student Association
Bound for Beijing…During the last leg of his senior year, Adams joined the 2013 Beijing Maymester cohort on a month-long exploration of China’s social and entrepreneurial landscape. His first time abroad, he made it his mission to take full advantage of every opportunity that came his way. “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about a culture totally different from my own—and to challenge myself to adapt to a foreign environment.”
A memory to last a lifetime…Looking back at his many experiences, Adams says he will never forget climbing the Great Wall of China. Though he and his friend could’ve joined a guided tour, they hit the snooze button one too many times and had to chart out their own voyage. “We took it upon ourselves to take an alternate route up the mountain. It was pretty tough but when we made it to the top, we knew it was well worth the climb.”
A taste of celebrity life… “I never knew people in China viewed people of color as exotic. I must have been stopped ten times a day and taken a total of 100 pictures with strangers wanting a photo or to touch my skin. I knew China would be different but my experiences exceeded my wildest expectations!
Living and learning…His greatest lessons? The value of patience while adapting to a new environment, a bit of wisdom that serves him well in his career “My experiences taught me to embrace new culture because there is always something new to be learned.”
The adventure continues… “My experiences in China sparked a desire to learn more about the world. Since this trip I have traveled to Germany, France, Italy, Spain and most recently South Africa.”
Life after UT…In keeping with his alma mater’s mission statement, “What Starts Here Changes the World,” Adams focuses his life and career on public service. “My long-term career goals are to continue working in real estate and as a firefighter. The flexibility in both fields allows time to inspire urban youth and to pursue other goals, interests and hobbies.
More about the program: Housed in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE), the China Maymester program is led by Dr. Leonard Moore, history professor and associate vice president for the DDCE; and Dr. Charles Lu, director of the LCAE’s Gateway Scholars program. Go to this website to apply for the 2017 cohort!