University of Southern Indiana Brother Reflects on Personal Growth Following Immersion Trip to China

A chance to experience a new culture and travel halfway across the world was not always in the plans for Conner Sturgeon. For the University of Southern Indiana brother, the thought of even leaving the country was daunting enough.

Sturgeon was able to meet many new people from all walks of life during his immersion trip. Photo courtesy of Conner Sturgeon.

Sturgeon decided it was time to take the plunge and leave his comfort zone once and for all.

During the summer, Sturgeon had the opportunity to join some of his fellow classmates on an immersion trip for first-generation college students, which took them across the world to China. The 10-day program allowed Sturgeon to experience sights he had only read about, such as the Great Wall of China. Sturgeon describes the marvel as “mesmerizing” and something he still can not fathom that he was able to see in person.

While Sturgeon and the rest of his group did not participate in “traditional” classes, they still received valuable lessons in being more present in the moment and learning how to study other cultures. This training helped Sturgeon to realize that he had a unique opportunity to view a world outside of his own.

“I had to take myself out of my comfort zone,” said Sturgeon. “To remember that I was there to experience a new culture and not do what I expected made it easier.”

One of the few things about the trip that worried, but also excited Conner was the food. Luckily, he loved it. Photo courtesy of Conner Sturgeon.

Sturgeon was able to travel all across China in the short time he was there, but he says some of his favorite experiences included learning more about kung fu and experiencing the culture, especially the food.

Now that the fall semester has started, Sturgeon is able to think back on his time in China and go forward with an open mind in everything he does.

“Having this experience has helped me grow a lot personally,” assured Sturgeon. “‘Pure, high, and ever-growing’ is in our creed, and I feel like this has been one of the biggest steps to ever push me out of my comfort zone and really helped me look at the world with a different perspective.”

Going from a kid who had never been out of the country to experiencing new, exotic places, Sturgeon urges fellow brothers to take the leap, if ever given the opportunity, and remember that we are ever-growing.

“If anyone ever gets the chance to travel, they need to take it,” said Sturgeon. “Take it with an open mind.

“It’s really only for the best, regardless of what you think may happen. If you go, everyone is there for your best interest and it’s all about growing.”

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