Journey to Better Self: Study Abroad While Studying Abroad!

My name is Yuan Law. I am from Malaysia. I am very enthusiastic and highly motivated. I strive to be the best version of myself personally, academically and professionally. My approach to achieve this goal of excellence is through self-reflection, learning and change. I would reflect on almost anything from significant events such as my decision to commit in a student organization to minor incidents such as my usage of less appropriate words during previous conversation. I would analyze my performance when dealing with any situation. I identify parts which I did well and attempt to carry forth the great work; I also think about potential solutions for parts which I did poorly. I learn from my previous experiences and seek to improve my handling of similar future situations. I would change my behavior and response deliberately and intentionally to ensure I am not repeating the same blunder.

A good example is I am sometimes less receptive to my teammates’ ideas; I would quickly say “no” to them if I think their ideas would not work out. With my aspiration to be better version of myself, I attempt to be a more open-minded person. Therefore, I reflected on my quick disapproval of their ideas and learned that I should have said “yes, that’s a good idea. I have a little concern that it might not work out well due to certain constraints. But, let us make this idea work together!” Starting now, when I were to turn down someone’s suggestion, I would stop myself from slipping out “no” but deliberately force myself to say “yes, let us try out this method!”

Applying this aspiration back to my personal life, I do my best to spend more quality time with people that I care and care about me. I treasure my family and my friends. If I sense that I am spending less time with them due to heavier workload and busier lifestyle, I would self-reflect and adjust myself. In academics, I endeavor to fully grasp all the materials I learn in class. I understand the concepts, practice them through assignments and exam questions and apply them into the real world. For my professional side, I am eager to learn, practice and improve. I was a shy person when it comes to networking. Ever since I came to University of Pittsburgh, I forced myself out of my comfort zone. I attend workshops to learn networking skills, go to internship fairs as well as speaker events to practice those skills and reflect on ways that I can improve in my upcoming networking events. Now, I am better at networking or at least comfortable to talk to professionals and recruiters.

This summer, I will participate in International Internship Program: Berlin, Germany. I am fortunate to secure an internship with Stein & Partners LLP, a legal and tax advisory firm with focus on trade with China. I will work on preparing new business and taxation guidelines and communicating them to Chinese investors entering German market.

I chose to participate in this study abroad program because I think it is awesome to have study abroad experience in Germany while studying abroad in America. In addition, I will be in touch with Chinese investors as part of my job scope. This means that I gain exposure to 4 different cultures. First is my own culture, Malaysian culture; second is American culture; third is German culture; fourth is Chinese culture. This experience is extremely valuable because it will develop me into a more well-rounded person; I will have the knowledge of various cultures and will become more adaptable in different environments. In term of academics, I get hands on experience to apply knowledge I learned from classes into my internship. I also get to compare and contrast the difference between American’s and German’s business environments. When I return for fall semester, I will have a clearer picture of how I can leverage benefits and learning outcomes of various courses that I will take to ensure they add value to me. Last but not least, this program will prepare me for my future career because it equips me with a distinct work ethics, job skills and perspectives. I will learn German’s work etiquette, soft skills and thoughts processes. When I enter the workplace after graduation, I will be a worker who can think from at least two perspectives and execute my tasks with broader range of skills.

In summary, I am always motivated to be a better version of myself. Self-reflection, learning and change are set of activities propelling my improvements. Study abroad, or more specifically International Internship Program: Berlin, Germany, offers me valuable experience which will trigger my further growth personally, academically and professionally. I am super excited for my study abroad journey, and I cannot wait to see my better self!