TAMIU Student Visits China Through China-U.S. Rising Star Study Tour
Melissa Olmeda, a Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) junior Business major, is fascinated by Chinese culture.
She recently had the opportunity of a lifetime to visit China as one of 25 students selected nationally for the China-U.S. Rising Star Student Study Tour, a student exchange program co-sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the China Education Association for International Exchange.
Olmeda visited four cities in China during two weeks in January, including Beijing, Xi’an, Wuxi, and Shanghai.
Video: Adventures in China
“I heard about this program through Project Pengyou, a TAMIU student organization that works to bring U.S. and Chinese students together,” she said, “I got really excited because I had already been to China during Summer 2018 as part of TAMIU’s Study Abroad Program.”
In her Tour application essay, Olmeda said she expressed her wish to share her experiences as a U.S.-México border resident with Chinese students and to bring cultural awareness back to Laredo as well as the importance of not believing in stereotypes about others.
“China is lively, very populated, there’s delicious food everywhere, manicurists on the street and you see many open markets,” Olmeda said.
During her trip, funded in part by the Laredo Asian Association, Olmeda said she participated in in-depth cultural appreciation and skill-building experiences. She climbed the Great Wall of China, visited the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum and participated in lectures on flower pressing and Chinese pottery.
She also learned about China’s tea ceremony and how to make traditional dumplings.
“I had never done flower pressing and never appreciated tea the way they do,” she said, “They do a whole tea ceremony, whereas we just drink it here.”
She said she is fortunate to have participated in the Tour.
“I’m glad because it opens the way we view the world,” she said and noted she cherishes Chinese students she met during her trip.
She continued, “We still talk to each other and say how we miss one another and how we would like to visit again. While I was over there, I was trying to speak Chinese, but they wanted me to speak English to them as they wanted to learn English.”
Olmeda said that she likes people’s friendliness toward her in China the most and that if all goes according to plan, she would also like to live there as a marketing professional some day.
“I recommend TAMIU to other students because of programs like these,” Olmeda said, “TAMIU gives scholarships and offers a Study Abroad Program. I learned more about other cultures other than mine and I also got to meet many new friends. Now, I can say I have friends from China and all over the United States, and the Tour gave me good memories.”
Olmeda said she found the experience so positive that after graduation she plans to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to study and teach English in China.
Many TAMIU students benefit from funding and scholarship assistance for their Study Abroad program provided by the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Trust.
For more information on TAMIU’s Study Abroad Program, please contact Triana González Valdez, director of International Engagement, at 956.326.2565, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit offices in Student Center, room 124G.
University office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.