The trip of a lifetime for a Marshall University student from Parkersburg leads to newfound friendships and a better understanding of herself.
"It was completely worth it, just the friendships that I made and everyone that I got to meet,” says Paige Rabatin, of her time in Beijing, China.
It has such an impact on children's lives.
"I’ve already gotten e-mail from different students I had thanking me so much for being there, wanting to stay in contact, wanting to learn about it as much as possible,” Paige says.
As a parent, Josie Rabatin was apprehensive about her daughter traveling overseas, but so proud of her accomplishment.
"I was thrilled for her to have this opportunity to go,” the mom of three says.
An unexpected moment becomes a life changing experience.
"Randomly got an e-mail from the Honors College at Marshall in the spring saying there was an opportunity to go to China for a month and study,” Paige says. “You would get to travel around to different locations there, as well as spend two weeks in a rural area teaching English to underprivileged children."
International studies offer more than what's learned in school.
"She will walk away with such an education that she can't ever get from a book or even from listening to a speaker in a classroom,” Josie says.
Paige considers a famous landmark the most memorable part of China.
"We got to hike to the very tallest point of the Great Wall,” she says.
The direct exposure to a faraway land makes for an unforgettable senior year.
"She’s got first-hand knowledge dealing with the culture, dealing with the people,” Josie says.
Prospective students thinking about this kind of experience…
"Definitely do it,” Paige says. “I've discovered that you have the best conversations with people who travel or with people who accept others from different backgrounds who travel."
Marshall starts back up for Paige this Friday and the Parkersburg South grad says she would return to China all over again -- it had that much of an impact on her life.