Studying abroad while studying abroad

a photo of the chataeu, an old castle that makes up the Luxembourg campus

By Rachel Berry

For the over 3,000 international students at Miami University, their time in Oxford or at the regional campuses in Hamilton and Middletown is a study abroad experience. Because of this, many of these students don’t consider studying abroad in a third country while at Miami.

Siyu Duan, who goes by Snow, is an international student from China, but she knew when she came to Miami that she wanted to spend a semester abroad. She wasn’t sure what program she wanted to go on, but after speaking with a study abroad advisor, she chose to go to Luxembourg. Duan also had a friend who previously studied at the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center (MUDEC) in Luxembourg and advocated highly for the program.

“I actually want to have the experience of study abroad,” Duan said.

Jingpei Liang, another international student from China, is currently studying in Luxembourg. He was drawn to the program because of his love of European history and the opportunity to live with a host family and interact with local people.

a man standing on a roof, with a city that can be seen behind himLiang doesn’t have very many American friends at home, so studying abroad pushed him outside his comfort zone and helped him to form relationships with classmates.

“I’ve always used my own perspective to know about America and American culture,” Liang said. “I had many subconscious biases. I feel better than before because I made many new friends at MUDEC and they taught me many things about American culture.”

Duan had a similar experience. In America, she still had a lot of Chinese friends and was able to communicate with them in her native language. Going to Europe placed her in a situation where she had to interact more with Americans.

Although she was in countries where people didn’t oftentimes speak English, her language skills actually improved from speaking with her classmates. She also made many close American friends, who she still keeps in contact with. Her roommate especially made an effort to include her and invite her to go places together.

On one particular weekend, Duan had the opportunity to travel by herself and decided to go to Brussels, Belgium. This was her first time traveling without her friends and handling all of the details by herself, from finding a hotel to arranging transportation to choosing places to eat.

a girl smiling wearing a red Miami shirt, with a bridge and river behind herBefore the trip, she was nervous, particularly because she didn’t speak the language and wouldn’t be able to communicate with the people in Brussels. Afterwards, though, she said it was one of the highlights of her semester abroad.

“I have more courage to face challenges,” Duan said.

This was both Duan and Liang’s first time in Europe, and they were both able to visit around seven to 10 other countries during their time abroad.

“I feel like it’s expanding my view of this world, not just from China to America, but also by being in a different country and learning more about European culture,” she said.

Duan recommends that more international students study abroad during their time at Miami.

“I just say why not,” Duan said. “Follow your heart and be brave.”

Another incentive for international students from China to join Miami’s tradition at MUDEC is the increasing number of Chinese banks and other Chinese businesses setting up European hubs based in Luxembourg, said Andy Adams, coordinator of communication and student engagement at MUDEC. One example is Alipay, a system similar to PayPal utilized extensively in China and now expanding elsewhere.

Adams said there is a potential for students to find internships in Luxembourg after completing the study abroad program. 

Any student who studies at MUDEC will be eligible in the future to also participate in the summer internship program. 


You can go to Luxembourg, too!

Learn More about MUDEC