November 13, 2018
Melissa Lee '14 studied for a few weeks in Japan through our GO program during her junior year—and the experience stuck with her.
"The GO study abroad program not only provides an opportunity to experience firsthand a different culture and the beauty of life, but also credits its participants an ability to see the world with a fresh perspective," Lee says.
"Ever since the trip, I found myself befriending international students, especially during and after my graduate studies. As a second-generation immigrant, I can sympathize with cultural differences and language barriers, but I have discovered that every person has the same fundamental desires and dreams to find his or her sense of purpose in life," she adds.
After earning her master's in piano pedagogy and performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lee decided to move to China to study Mandarin Chinese for two years.
She is now an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at a private Australian-Chinese preschool/kindergarten in Wuxi, Jiangsu province.
"I have also slowly ventured into teaching private piano lessons all in Chinese," Lee says.
While she says living and working in China has not always been easy, she has enjoyed the opportunity to explore the international community and "to bridge the gap between cultures to discover that we are essentially one people!"
"Surprisingly, there are similarities. Both are universal languages—one is the language of business and the other a language of self-expression, and together they utilized both sides of my brain," she says.