Hanson Truong, DMSB’22, is taking over our Instagram account this week to show us his experience in the N.U.in program! Truong was asked to reflect on his time in Greece including sightseeing, classroom experiences, and time spent with friends. Be sure to follow his takeover beginning July 22 on @damoremckim.
Q: What is your major and what year are you graduating?
I’m a business administration major with a concentration in finance and an intended data science minor. I hope to graduate by 2022.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue a minor in data science?
I believe that data science is extremely applicable in the field of finance and will allow me to diversify my resume and skills that I can then utilize in the workplace. Outside of finance, I firmly believe that the world is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and the ability to sort and understand all the data received through that technology will be a valuable insight regardless of industry.
I was ecstatic about being able to study abroad so early in my college career. Although I was excited, I was also hesitant about accepting the opportunity because of my initial beliefs about a “traditional college career.” I wasn’t sure it was the right decision to study abroad because I thought it was normal for college students to spend time getting accustomed to their university first and then study abroad later. In hindsight, I really appreciated the opportunity to grow and learn in a new environment. It made for an insightful and exciting freshman year.
Q: What was Greece like? What are a few highlights from the semester you spent there?
Greece was a welcoming and cozy country to explore. The second we arrived in Thessaloniki, it was clear that the ambiance was relaxed and welcoming. Communicating with locals and traveling in different parts of the country was really easy because everyone was kind and patient.
A few experiences that stand out include visiting the ancient ruins of Delphi and the Parthenon, attending an intense football match between rival Thessaloniki teams (Aris and Paok), taking a couple of days to climb Mt. Olympus, and visiting hot springs a few hours away from Thessaloniki. Every experience allowed us to mingle with and engage in the Greek culture.
Q: Did you have the opportunity to travel elsewhere while you were abroad?
Yes! I had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful Greek islands of Crete and Santorini during my fall break. During our time there, we were able to hike and swim along the shores of Crete as well as explore the local shopping scene. And since Crete is where the modern Mediterranean diet was created, we ate a ton of healthy yet delicious foods. We actually only spent one day in Santorini, but it was enough to have the image of the beautiful white topped homes seared into our memories. I definitely want to visit these islands again!
Q: What was your experience like at The American College of Thessaloniki (ACT)?
It was a beautiful and widespread campus with a full basketball gym and quaint library. I could tell that the professors all really enjoyed their jobs and were there to truly teach and engage with students. The academic experience overall resembled some of the highest quality teaching I have ever experienced. To this day, I am still in touch with some of my teachers from ACT! For example, my Greek teacher, Popi, was always amazing to be around and cared for us so much that she would often bring snacks to share with the class. There were many clubs that we could join (although not many American students engaged in them). I ended up playing for the Men’s Basketball team and had a great time. The team actually traveled to Barcelona to compete in a tournament (I unfortunately wasn’t able to join them on this trip but they had my support from afar!)
Q: What does a day in the life of an N.U.in student look like while abroad?
Every week day, I would wake up around 9 A.M. and eat at the breakfast buffet. There was a set bus schedule that would leave at various times throughout the morning. I would take the bus to school around 10:15 AM just in time for my 11:00 AM class. Classes ran throughout the day. Whenever I had a break, I would either grab a snack at the cafe on campus or study at the campus Bissell Library. All classes concluded around 5:30 P.M. and we were bussed back to the hotels for the evening. Dinner was also served buffet style, but students were free to go out to dine if they chose.
Q: How did Northeastern staff prepare you for this trip?
The pre-departure orientation was a great opportunity for me to have my questions and concerns addressed. I was given everything I needed to know prior to my departure including a packing list! The international coordinators were also really approachable and addressed many of my (and my parents’) concerns.
Q: How did you stay in touch with Northeastern while you were abroad?
Whenever Northeastern needed to get in touch with us, they communicated through email and passed information on to the International Coordinators to pass on to us. It was relatively easy and all logistics were handled properly.
Q: What was your experience like coming to the Northeastern Boston campus in the spring?
Surprisingly, coming to Northeastern in the spring was a relatively smooth transition. There was another orientation on campus once we arrived that briefed us on the basics on getting acquainted to campus life in Boston. Of course, there’s always a learning curve and I had questions throughout the first few months, but reaching out to people who knew the answers to my questions was easy since most students are friendly.
Q: What are you involved with at Northeastern? What was it like getting involved with different initiatives on the Boston campus when you returned for the spring?
When returning to the Boston campus in the spring, I really wanted to hit the ground running and join things that interested me just to get more involved. I attended the winter involvement fair and found a few initiatives that interested me. After all the applications and interest I showed, I now have the privilege of being a Brother of Alpha Kappa Psi, I’m a program coordinator for the Asian Student Union, and I’m an N.U.in Alumni Ambassador. I highly encourage all students to hit the ground running when they return to Boston!
Q: What was your favorite part of the N.U.in program?
I loved being immersed in a new culture and by the end of it being able to see Greece as a second home! Thessaloniki was so welcoming and I actually became really close to a few of the locals there as well! Being abroad with a new group of people gives you the amazing opportunity to get close to people you may have never imagined bonding with! So many of my best friends are from the N.U.in program.
Q: What advice would you give to your fellow Huskies attending the N.U.in program this fall?
Get out of your comfort zone! Meet new people, try new foods, visit new places, and do things that you won’t have the opportunity to do back home. This is your chance to shine and get comfortable with the uncomfortable!
Q: Do you have plans to go abroad again?
I would love to go on a Dialogue of Civilizations next summer to take a break away from all the co-op and academics happening in Boston.
Q: What will you be showing our community during your takeover?
During my takeover, I’ll be sharing with you a few of my most cherished memories from Greece. You’ll see a little bit of how it feels to live in Thessaloniki and also get to experience some of the activities I took part in. I simply want to inspire others and get all the N.U.in students excited for an exciting fall semester!