Lucas Mackey, a senior in Aviation Business Administration graduating in December has studied abroad in Taiwan and worked abroad in Hong Kong.
From May to June of 2015, he participated in an eight week long international internship in Hong Kong before flying immediately to spend five weeks studying abroad in Taiwan.
Going from Taiwan straight from Hong Kong was a shocking experience for Mackey. He had to fly to China alone, where he had no knowledge of the language or culture, knew nobody, and had no English-speaking friends. Looking at it in optimistic retrospect, he calls his two months in China a time of soul searching.
He calls it the best time in his entire life, saying he learned “so much about himself and China” because he had so much freedom on his own to explore and discover. The shock came when he then went to Taiwan, where he was with then constantly with a group.
Although he enjoyed his time traveling with a group as well, he encourages anyone who goes abroad to “seek out those individual excursions because you really learn a lot about yourself.”
Through a networking event, Lucas met a representative of the company for which he interned, was put in touch with the company president, and was offered the position in Hong Kong, sponsored in whole by the company. He calls the internship “absolutely amazing,” and says he made long term friends who he will never forget.
As for his study abroad in Taiwan, Mackey organized it himself through the humanities program. Through this program, he was able to completely personalize his course, studying business and Chinese by his own personalized syllabus and using a textbook he selected himself.
Mackey says that going abroad, both for work and to study, changed his life through exposing him to a perspective that he had never before considered, saying it “definitely matured me a lot, built my humility, and improved my open-mindedness and acceptance of different cultures; decreased my apprehension for trying new things and increased my love for the world.”
Lucas is going abroad again as a graduation trip. He plans to spend New Year’s in London and then will travel to Germany and Scandinavia. Closing comments from the adventurer: “The world is amazing and I just cannot wait to go out and explore more!”
Mackey has a blog on [fundforeducationabroad.org] under the 2015 Scholars, where you can read more about his experiences.