After completing a Columbia Experience Overseas internship through the Center for Career Education in Hong Kong and studying abroad with the School of International Training (SIT) Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment Program, Kening Zhu ’14, a creative writing major and history concentrator born in Shanghai and raised in North Carolina, began creating hand-illustrated maps to capture her experiences and then started an online project, Wandermaps, which allows people to share maps and reflect on their own journeys. When she returned from abroad, Zhu was a peer adviser in the Office of Global Programs, where she shared her experiences of living in a homestay in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, as well as with a nomadic herding family in the countryside, and encouraged students to study abroad.
The SIT Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment Program is one of more than 150 programs in 50 countries on six continents, including Columbia-run and Columbia-approved programs, offered through the Office of Global Programs. The College also offers dozens of opportunities for students to work abroad in Amman, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Shanghai and Singapore though the Center for Career Education’s Columbia Experience Overseas program, in which students live with fellow interns and are connected with alumni mentors and special programming while abroad.
“I decided I wanted to be in a place that would expand me …. It had to be a place difficult to travel to on my own and somewhere I knew almost nothing about … The vast Mongolian steppe was an antidote to my frenetic Manhattan life; I herded sheep and goats, collected yak dung for fuel, tasted the richest yak cream for breakfast and spent long afternoons talking with my host mother (in broken Mongolian!).”