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It has been said that traveling to distant lands is a transformational experience. For Maxwell Warner, Kent State Geauga sophomore, it was so much more. Max traveled to China this past summer as part of a two-week cultural exchange program with Sichuan University in Chengdu, China.
The cultural exchange program is offered through Kent State University's Education Abroad-Office of Global Education. This is an example of the rich connection point described in the "One University" mindset at Kent State. Regional campus students are always interconnected to events and opportunities at the Kent Campus or other regional campuses.
Max grew up in Middlefield, Ohio and attended Cardinal High School. His education at Kent State Geauga began in August of 2017. He said he chose Kent State Geauga because he wasn’t quite ready for a big change in his life. The campus was close to home and offered an affordable tuition rate, so it was the perfect fit. He was undeclared in his major at the beginning of his college career but knew that he enjoyed interacting with people and had a love for photography -which he discovered while working at a local cable station.
"My education is valuable to me in a number of ways," Max said. "I feel that going to college is about discovering yourself. The regional campuses make that a comfortable experience because it is easy to develop relationships with peers and professors. Networking is everything in this day and age."
During his trip to China, a Kent State graduate student discussed other degree options, and now he's very excited to declare his major in Global Communication with a double minor in Photojournalism & Sociology. He expects to graduate sometime in 2021.
Max explained that the trip to China was a multifaceted experience; from mingling with local students in classes, to weekend excursions, to ordering in a restaurant using google translate, and learning about the cultural differences between students from all over the world, but to be more specific, the UK.
"Though there were some language barriers, I wouldn’t want anything to be different," said Max. "It was such a humbling experience. Getting to know the Chinese students was even better! They taught us some words in their language and we did the same."
His favorite memory about the trip was experiencing all the cultural differences. Max explained, "I can't actually put into words all the things I've learned. One of the most memorable is the hospitality of the Chinese culture. Everyone welcomed us as Americans, and we were constantly asked to pose for pictures. It was truly an eye-opening experience, and I feel as if I'm a different person than I was just a few weeks ago."
The experience made such an impact that it has inspired Max to apply for the Florence Semester Abroad in Spring of 2019. He plans to attend the Kent Campus this fall and said he's extremely excited for what his future holds -and China will always have a special place in his heart.