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International News | May 6, 2021

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Nancy Tran: Desire to Study Abroad Leads to Graduation Walk in China

Nancy Tran: Desire to Study Abroad Leads to Graduation Walk in China

Desire to Study Abroad Leads to Graduation Walk in China

Semester in Beijing program leads Denver student to graduation ceremonies at ICB

A desire to learn about—and in—a completely different culture led Nancy Tran from her home in Denver to her graduation walk on the ceremonial stage at International College Beijing, China. Tran had been a student teacher at an international studies school in Denver and her talks with high school students who had studied overseas inspired her to, in her words, “broaden my views and perspective on the world”.

She enrolled in CU Denver’s Semester in Beijing program in fall 2012, offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Global Education/Study Abroad Office. Through a rigorous curriculum, American and Chinese students are able to earn degrees in communication, economics, and dual degrees in courses taught in English by CU Denver faculty. Minors are also offered in math and philosophy. The programs count for full credit hours and are designed to open doors to greater cultural understanding while providing an in-depth global education. Semester in Beijing is held at International College Beijing, which is a joint program between the University of Colorado Denver and China Agricultural University.

After three months of studies, Tran realized that she wanted to learn even more about the Chinese culture. She explained, “I had learned enough Chinese to be able to get around on my own, I found my favorite restaurants, the perfect study spots, and after finally becoming immersed in Chinese culture, I knew that I was not ready to go home.”

Approximately one third of the students who study on the Beijing program choose to continue for another semester.  According to John Sunnygard, the Director of Global Education/Study Abroad, “Students love learning in China; our Chinese students are gracious hosts.  Equally important, the generous scholarships and Beijing’s low cost of living mean that our students can study in Beijing for less money than in Denver.”

Tran continued her studies into the 2013 Semester in Beijing program.  While majoring in math with a minor in educational studies, she was able to take upper-division math courses during her time in Beijing. Her goal is to teach math in an urban setting.

She felt that China offered her the opportunity to go through life-changing experiences and to “become a new person”. Self-confidence, independence, and the ability to set and meet goals all resulted from her focus and determination.

“At first, I came to China to see another part of the world, and to have my experiences prepare me to become a more culturally educated teacher. Now that I have accomplished all of those goals, I have a new goal: to gain first-hand experience in the classrooms of international schools in Beijing. This is an opportunity that I never would have even thought of before; but coming to China has opened this door.”

Tran said that living in another country has helped her to gain more self-awareness. She will also join her new friends and peers in China as they receive their University of Colorado diplomas during 2013 commencement activities in Beijing.

“I have learned to appreciate what I have and to see my life from a new perspective. These are the lessons that I will take with me, when I return home as a whole new person.”


To learn more about the Semester in Beijing program and other Global Education/Study Abroad programs, visit online at: Also find out more about the generous Study Abroad Scholarships ($2,000 to $5,000 per) offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.