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Kelly Flathers

Why did you decide to study abroad?
As an International Relations major I knew having experience abroad would be hugely beneficial for my language skills and future career.

If you could tell someone one reason why they should go, what would you say?
It sounds tacky but when you're abroad on your own you learn a lot about yourself and have the chance to grow in many positive ways. It's easy to get too comfortable if you stay at St. A's for the full 4 years since it's such a small community. I'm much more independent, confident, and open-minded now that I've lived somewhere so different from what I'm used to.

What did you accomplish while you were abroad?
I had an internship at an NGO that was closely related to what I want to pursue as a future career, which is great for my resume and personal experience.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to face while studying abroad?
For living in China it was definitely the language barrier- the difficulty of the language makes every day uniquely challenging.

What was the most memorable experience you had while studying abroad?
Since I stayed in Shanghai for two semesters, over winter break I decided to live with a host family in exchange for teaching their 9-year-old boy English. I got to experience an authentic Chinese New Year, complete with ancient traditions, tons of food, and fireworks!

If you were involved in any clubs or sports at Saint A's, did you feel like you missed out by studying abroad?
I thought more would have changed, but when I came back home for senior year it was as if I never left! Plus, the incredible things I experienced abroad were definitely worth the time away from home.

Which course was the most beneficial to you? Why?
I took a course on the Political Economy of China and the professor was very straightforward with the good and bad things taking place throughout China's development. It's easy to pretend that China is completely perfect or completely corrupt, but the real picture is obviously much more complex. Keeping an open mind and listening to many opinions was how I tried to get a grasp on China and what it means to be Chinese. This can apply to any country you travel to!

Express three or four things that help us to understand how you felt living in the city of Shanghai?
Living in Shanghai as a student is a blast because a little money goes a long way. You can eat and travel much more than you could in a fully developed country. Sometimes I experienced some culture shock with the public toilets or dirty sidewalks, but the flashy modern architecture, simple public transportation, and metropolitan lifestyle easily outweighs the negatives.

Meet Kelly

Kelly Flathers

Name: Kelly Flathers
Major: International Relations, Asian Studies Minor
Year of Graduation: 2015
Hometown: Plaistow, NH
Term Abroad: 2013-2014 Academic Year
Study Abroad Program: Fudan University through the Education Abroad Network
Location of study abroad program: Shanghai, China