Q and A: Julia Xiong, SEE-U program

August 27, 2014

Julia Xiong is one of several Columbia undergraduates who traveled to Jordan and Columbia Global Centers | Middle East this summer as part of the Summer Ecosystem Experiences for Undergraduates Program, which is run in conjunction with Columbia College and the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She shares below his experiences in the five-week program.

What promoted you to seek this opportunity at the center?
This was a chance for me to do something travel-based. I was intrigued by the opportunity to come to Jordan because it gave me a chance to travel and learn.

How did your experience meet or exceed your expectations?
This experience definitely exceeded my expectations. Just being out and learning outside the classroom, and doing things added to the huge cultural experience. Coming to a country where women aren’t equal it’s a new experience to see gender inequality.

Where were the one or two highlights for you from your time here?
Aqaba: we saw the coral; I knew the ecosystem and experienced it.
I also really enjoyed all the dinners we had with each other.

What tips do you suggest to students embarking on this program in the future?
Don’t be scared to get out there. Learn as much as you can, half of my education has been cultural.

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