Chris's Years Overseas

Chris Dee graduated from Yale University with BS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. Involved in CAMP since its inception, Chris headed CAMP's Business Development and Marketing divisions during the early days. He laid much of groundwork for CAMP's reach today and is a all-around, genuine boss! Read all about what he has to say about the rewards of studying abroad below!

Having now graduated, what do you think is the most important take-away from having attended your school/studying abroad?

A deeper understand of what it means to be a good and smart person -- From such diverse people I've met at Yale, I learned that "goodness" and "smartness" are not confined to a single set of rules stipulated by culture or social norms. I've also learned that there is much growing to do by ways of thinking well, of thinking with more humility and critical consideration, and of submitting my own assumptions to questioning.

What is your best memory in the time you spent studying abroad? What did you love most?

Two things:

  1. We did a giant fundraiser for Haiyan victims, and the Filipino club (KASAMA) came together in such a profound and moving way. Each member carried their own weight and more, and the 4am emails would be answered at 4:05am. Moreover, the whole Yale community supported our country. The first thing that popped up on yale.edu was the Philippine flag (I have a screenshot somewhere). In ten days we raised about a million pesos.
  2. The day before the final day of Commencement (three days of graduation festivities), my barkada sat around in a circle in open air at midnight with beers and blankets. We toasted to each other, shared memories of first meeting each other, and reflected on friendship, nostalgia, the future, and love. Lots of tears. We ended at like 6am and baaaarely made it to graduation.

Would you recommend studying abroad? Why or why not?

Yes because it expands your mind. You learn that there is still so much to know, that there are so many ways to be a person, that ideas are worth sharing. You learn many languages (I use "languages" metaphorically)-- different ways to communicate with people, through words, arts, and shared experiences.

Is there anything that you wish someone had told you to consider in choosing the right school for you? In other words, was there any defining characteristic of your school that you hadn't known about coming in, but which had a defining impact in your experience there?

This I sort of knew but I'd like the kids to know: choose a school because of the people, not the name. The people make the experiences. Most of the academics will be the same wherever you go. But the peers and friends you find, the professors whose wisdom you try to diffuse, and those late night conversations, really make your college experience. (Yale specific)

That and research as much as you can before you decide which clubs to do, which labs to work in, which classes to take. Make friends with upperclasspeople! They will show you the ropes, so you can take their advice and avoid their mistakes. Gather as much data as you can before you decide!! (Any school, really)

What did you feel you were best prepared for when it came to studying abroad? What did you feel you could've been better prepared for?

Best prepared for: study habits.
Least prepared for: openness. And winter.

Best piece of advice you could give an incoming freshman? Or a student considering college abroad?

Work your butt off, it's worth it. Once you're there, be open to the experiences that life throws at you. And not all learning happens in the classroom.

Other pieces of wisdom?

In relation to the previous question, here's a poem I love by Mihai Eminescu:

Vainly In Those Dusty Classrooms... (Mihai Eminescu)
Vainly in those dusty classrooms
And throughout moth-eaten volumes
Do you strive to find life's beauty
And fulfill its inmost duty, 
And in vain on greasy pages
Do you seek the gist of sages, 
Nor with their contorted wording
Can you change the world's unfolding. 
No amount of bookish learning
Has the answers to your yearning, 
So live life until you pass, 
All that suffering amass, 
And you'll hear the growing grass. 

(1879) 

(Translated by Paul Abucean)