Tag Archives: Texas

From China to Texas

Stepping off the plane from China I know that I will have some problems adjusting being back in good ‘ole Texas. Flying in, all I see in every direction is flat lands and plenty of empty lots compared to towers and skyscrapers filling the sky. I knew being back home I no longer have to walk anywhere, but instead have to drive to get anything done. My story remains the same but the amount of information I give out varies from person to person. Everyone is so excited to hear about my story about being abroad, but the hardest thing for me to share is the moments that I experienced. I always end with the same line, “You have to experience it in order to understand what happened.”

The most I miss about being in the city is how easy it was to get around at any point in time. Meeting with other interns or friends I made along the way, we always had a new spot to discover while being in Shanghai or traveling on the weekends. Having a solid group of friends really helped me enrich my experience abroad. We literally did everything together after work. As soon as we got off work we were already arranging a table for dinner and an evening activity for us to unwind.

Being back in the States does have its perks like seeing family, friends and the opportunity to develop new friendships by getting the chance to share my story. Unfortunately, I do miss strangers taking my picture and wanting to practice their English everywhere I go. While in China one thing that I noticed that I really enjoyed was how open people were when bringing people into their group. No matter where you were from or what you looked like, people embraced you with open arms and never doubted their decisions. Here in the States I feel as if it is a bit of a process trying to break into a group of friends especially if you don’t match their thoughts, clothing styles, patterns, etc.

Starting my last year in college I am beyond excited to venture into the world of graduate studies. This experience really influenced me to focus more on a dual program that offers classes both in the U.S. and abroad. Having such a short time to take in the culture, I find that studying abroad long-term will allow for more personal and professional development. When applying to global programs, I know during individual interviews the Gilman Scholarship and my personal story will help me start a solid conversation.


AlexAlex Montoya in China

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Filed under Alex in China, East Asia

Road to China

Howdy world! My name is Alex Montoya and I am from Canyon, Texas. I currently am a senior (Wahoo) at West Texas A&M University studying both Broadcasting Electronic Media and Advertising/Public Relations.

As of now, I am in Shanghai, China interning for Ringier Media Company, which is based out of Switzerland. I am beyond excited to be their editorial intern for the next month. Some of the things that I do is help push online content to readers in the area, review blogs and help keep CityWeekend Magazine up to date with current information.

While being driven to my apartment, I couldn’t help but notice all the development this city is going trough and the amount of limited space going deeper into the city. At this point, the only way to house roughly 24 million people is by going up. Always living no higher than two floors back home, I was constantly hung up on how high I would be living. 26 floors later, I unpacked by bags for an experience that has already started.

Living in an enormous city, there is always something to do or somewhere to go. Every place that I have visited, I usually have no idea what I am eating, but as always, I am never disappointed. Eating out all the time has no effect on my wallet, considering every other store is a food vendor and most servings are always fulfilling. Back home, a single outing for a delicious meal could cost me 3 days of meals here. I am glad that I actually get to see people walk around both day and night instead of driving everywhere. Another thing that I am enjoying is public transportation. It is very easy to make your way around the city, unlike back home, where I would have to hop in a hot car and drive a good distance before getting somewhere.

One of my favorite things about living in this city is that no matter which direction you decide to get lost in, everything is worth snapping a picture. The amount of cleverly placed advertisement around the city makes me want to buy what they are selling. I also enjoy the fact that just about everything has gone digital, which makes navigation very smooth. Surely living in the largest city in the world, I am bound to eat great foods, take worthy travel pictures, soak up and experience a culture, and lastly connect with people from all over the world.


Alex Montoya

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Filed under Alex in China, East Asia

Adjusting to life in London

Before I let for London the only thing I had done over winter break to prepare for my trip was watch Downton Abbey. (I thought it might be useful to get accustomed to the accent.) All the paper work had been complete for weeks, scholarships applied for, and warm clothes bought, but other than those necessities there are two things I had yet to do:

  1. Pack
  2. Finally realize that I was going to be away from home for the first time in my life

I thought the first might help with the second, or maybe I knew it wouldn’t hit me until I was on the plane, with a return ticket for months later.  I’ve grown up in Sugar Land, TX, a measly twenty-five minute car ride from Rice University. And though I think going to school close to home is highly underrated, it was high time I left Texas. For an extended period of time, at least.

While planning my trip, I hoped that, while in London, I would learn a lot. I knew my classes, research and internship would provide me with vast amounts of new knowledge. But I was really looking forward to learning how to navigate a city on my own, in addition to looking into the United States from a different perspective and finally seeing the world that exists beyond my own backyard.

As I prepared for my trip, I hoped my journey would entail immersing myself in new experiences, taking risks and traveling. A lot of traveling, actually. In fact, the two most common pieces of advice I received about my study abroad plans were to first, not study as much as I normally do at Rice and second, to travel as much as I can. I’m a fan of both.

With some of the world’s most historically significant, interesting and beautiful cities just a train ride away, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t travel outside of London, and begin to see as much of the world as I can.

I am happy to report that now that I’ve been in London for about a month, it has not disappointed. As of now, there is nothing I don’t love about the city. It could be a little warmer, but other than that, I find this city to be lively, robust and exciting.

I am off to Paris in just one day.

This is my first time in England, my first time exploring Europe and the first time I’ve lived outside of Texas. I am looking forward to documenting my travels and am happy you are coming along for the ride.

‘Till next time, cheers!

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Filed under Hira in the U.K., Western Europe