Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Feature: Kirthi Kaushik

Q&A with Kirthi Kaushik

In recognition of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Education Abroad is featuring our AAPI study abroad alumni and sharing their stories and experiences with the UNC Charlotte community.

Meet our next student!

Kirthi Kaushik

May 2023 Graduate, Biology & Psychology Majors

1. Why did you choose to study abroad?

I was looking for opportunities that would allow me to develop growth in my personal life, academics, and professionally. Studying abroad provides the best gadget anyone can have; developing a global mindset. Global mindsets allow individuals to familiarize and sharpen their knowledge on norms outside of the country they reside in. By participating in the education abroad program, I was confident that this experience will help me improve my professional growth as an Undergraduate and allow me to carry that moving forward in my life.

2. Where did you study abroad and what program ? London (Kingston-upon-Thames), United Kingdom. The Psychology in the United Kingdom program (a faculty-led program led by Sara Levans).

3. Did your personal identity impact your choice of program and/or study abroad location? If so, how?

I come from a family that is passionate about learning and teaching education. The thought of how lucky I am to attend a University and obtain a Bachelor’s degree crosses my mind every day. As a child of two immigrants, learning how to carve my own path of education has been nothing short of challenging. Opportunities such as studying abroad were very new to me, however, the second I heard about the program offered, I knew I wanted to study abroad

3. How would you describe your overall experience abroad? What did you gain from your time abroad?

My international experience truly enabled me to become a better individual in more ways than one. Building an intercultural competence, converting cultural awareness to knowledge and affective communication were skillsets that I needed to adopt fairly quickly. I was always told by outsiders that after the program you will come back a changed person for the better, I didn’t believe that. When starting my adventure abroad, I would describe myself as ambitious, goal-orientated, determined, kind and hard-working. The person that returned back from the London was more patient, understanding, empathetic, self-confident, and open-minded. Weakness turned into learned lessons and continued growing strengths.
4. Did you experience any challenges connected to your personal identity while abroad? 

Coming from a background where collectivism is more practiced than individualism, it was incredible to see the approach that individualism comes with and the benefits along with how it is practiced by many countries than just the United States. This world is made up of many walks of life, therefore, we need to be respectful of anyone’s background and story. Developing sensitivity to other cultures and mindsets that are unalike to self was a mentality that I captured when continuing my journey around the world. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to experience envisioning the world that comes with beautiful stories and backgrounds shared by other individuals in various locations.
5. Do you have any advice for other Asian American Pacific Islander students considering study abroad?

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” were the wise words of Helen Keller. Many people say much of the learning takes place out of the classroom and I couldn’t agree more. The beauty of learning is that it has no boundaries.