Kenny Hua (he/him) - Stanford in Australia
Major: Earth Systems - Biosphere
Minor: Asian American Studies
College year while abroad: Junior
About the photo: I was meeting a wallaby at an animal sanctuary.
Questions and Answers with Kenny
Why did you choose to study in Australia?
I chose to study abroad in Australia because of the environmental focus. I never had the opportunity to go explore nature as much, so this was the perfect program for me to spend a lot of time in nature.
What were your expectations before you went and how did they change once you were in Australia?
I expected Australia to be a lot more diverse than it actually was. This expectation was shattered when I first arrived in Brisbane, which was almost homogeneously the dominant culture.
What were some of the academic benefits from studying abroad in Australia?
I gained a lot of experience in doing field work and research. At Stanford, I never had much hands-on experience for my environmental-based courses. This was the first time I really got to immerse myself in the material I was learning.
What did you learn about yourself while studying abroad?
I learned that I am a pretty adaptable person. I've never gone camping, snorkeling, or boating. All of these things were initially beyond my comfort zone, but I quickly grew accustomed to them and really liked them.
What was the most challenging experience you encountered while abroad and what did you learn from it?
I was most challenging to adapt to the social norms of my professors. Even though Australia and the US are both western societies, the perspectives of my professors abroad were pretty different than what I am used to at Stanford. This was a tough space to navigate and I had to learn to speak myself more thoughtfully to get my viewpoints across.
What was the biggest cultural adjustment you had to make?
Walking on the left side of the road.
What was your favorite part of everyday life?
There tended to be a lot of free time left to exploring. At some points, we would just go snorkeling on our free time. Never have I had such availability to the coral reefs and snorkeling.
What was the most memorable experience you had while in Australia?
Singing karaoke with friends.
What 5 words would you use to describe the experience?
New, nature, transformative, challenging, restorative.
What was your favorite food?
Bingsoo - Korean shaved ice.