Scott poses with a local during his study abroad program in China.
Scott poses with some of his international students at Atherton High School in Louisville, Ky.
Overseas Study Program
Program & term: Hangzhou, China - Spring '85
Scott's major: Journalism and History
Scott's current position (2010): English as a Second Language Department Chairman, Atherton High School, Louisville, Ky.
Reason you chose this program: I grew up in a very small town in Indiana. I wanted to go to the most foreign place possible, something beyond my imagination. One day, a friend at the Indiana Daily Student walked in the newsroom with a flier about the IU-China exchange program. It was fate.
Best memory: After a few months in China, I asked a Chinese teacher to help me purchase a ticket to go to the magical Yellow Mountain. I wanted to go alone, with no back-up system, for about 4 days. I believe it was a turning point in my life.
What have been the longterm benefits of study abroad? Quite simply, it defined who I became. It's not just because I can speak Chinese now, but I believe I understand the world from a broader perspective. It made me aware of how others with different points of view think, and that I should be a better listener. It made me understand that life - with so many interesting places to travel and people to meet - is short and there's not a moment to waste. Heading off into the unknown helped me understand the benefit of searching out new things and new places. It has defined my professional life. As for my personal life, I eventually married a woman from Taiwan, our 16-year-old son is bilingual and we are taking him to China this summer.
What, if any, cultural practices have you inherited from your time abroad? Unless you have actually seen how diligently
Chinese high school and college students study, it is not really possible to imagine.
It is an inspiring work ethic. Furthermore, the adherence to traditions is
worthy of imitation.
Explain the impact study abroad has in the workplace: My China experience gave me a thirst to be apart of the world community. My first 16 professional years as a newspaper reporter did not give me international experience I craved. Seven years ago, I resigned and began a new life, teaching immigrants to read and write English at a Louisville high school. Now, I travel the world every day through the stories and lives of my students.
What advice would you have for a student considering study abroad? Just do it. Make it happen. Don't wait. Once you leave college, other things take over - marriage, jobs, mortgage, obligations to care for older parents. This is the time to go. I recommend choosing that opportunity which seems most daunting to you. I think the most nervous I have ever been came in the hours after I received the phone call from the IU Office of Overseas Study. I remember the words: "Congratulations. You have been chosen to join the IU-China study program." Do not succumb to the fear that you are not ready. GO!