Katherine Seaton

Journey East 2005

American University 2012

(Note: Katherine is currently  attending the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Communications.)

Katherine Seaton“When Tom Connor asked me to write about my participation in Journey East he told me not to be bashful, so I won't be. Journey East 2005 changed my life. I applied because my parents wanted me to and all my friends were doing it and I was utterly scared when I got in and actually had to go to China but the start of the Spring 2005 semester opened an entirely new world for me. Learning about a new and different culture was intriguing to me and actually experiencing that culture for a month deepened my understanding of that culture and of myself. Not only did we learn about a country and the cultures that were ingrained in it but we also got to experience them.

I had such a profound reaction to my experiences (in Journey East) that I decided to work toward a degree in international studies. I graduated in 2012 from American University in Washington, DC with a degree in International Studies and a concentration on the Middle East and Northern Africa. Although I didn't pursue Asia as a regional study, I did spend much of high school trying to find a way to go back. In my junior year of high school I was awarded a Freeman Scholarship to go to Japan for a month and to this day I still keep in touch with my host family in Japan. As I transitioned to college in DC I decided to dedicate my time to a different part of the world and studied abroad in Morocco for a semester. Travel is always a life changing experience and again, my experiences in Morocco did not disappoint. I can say without a doubt that I've learned more from my travels abroad than in any classroom and I am currently seeking ways to travel again.

I recently worked at a non-profit called Search for Common Ground. It's an organization in DC that focuses on ending violent conflict all over the world. They have offices in 30 countries and focus on finding common ground between two conflicting parties rather than highlighting their differences.

I can honestly say that I would not have been in DC working for an international nonprofit if I had not participated in Journey East 10 years ago. Through my participation in Journey East I have realized that I have the potential to create positive change in the world and I am working toward that goal everyday. Journey East isn't just a month-long trip to China, it's an opening for small-town kids to learn about the vast potential they have at their fingertips.”