In 2011 and 2012 I had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong with my church as a part of a mission team. While in Hong Kong, we stayed at a Lutheran School. We went in to the classrooms and talked to the students about our lives in America and they were free to ask as many questions as they liked. We also spent some time touring Hong Kong. We toured a Buddhist temple, went to “The Peak” which is a mountain/tourist attraction in Hong Kong. We even had the opportunity to have a traditional Hong Kong dinner at a student’s home, where we got to see how the people of Hong Kong live their every day lives. The second time I traveled to Hong Kong, I had the opportunity to address over 600 student at the school in a morning speech. At the time, I was very nervous for this speech, even though it was short, because that was my first public speaking event. My pastor had uploaded the video of my speech to Facebook and the amount of praise and comments I got from the video was overwhelming. All of my friends and family were so impressed and proud of me that I had the courage to go up infront of so many people and deliver a speech. I really couldn’t have done it without my pastor though, he helped me write most of the speech and gave me the courage and guidance to be able to get up infron of 600 people.
Here’s a link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/eric.kolonich/videos/t.100002586771554/164160417035946/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab
Traveling to Hong Kong with my church was an essential part to my growth. When I went to Hong Kong, I was only 14 and 15 years old. At such a young age, I learned and saw so many things I never would have if I had stayed in the United States. By traveling to Hong Kong with my church, I was able to learn more about other cultures and this is where my culteral intelligence started.
Having this opportunity has certainly made me stand out on college applications and job interviews. Many people are very surprised when I tell them I went to another country on the otherside of the world when I was just 14 years old. I have always been told that I was very mature for my age, and I think traveling to Hong Kong really opened my eyes to a whole other world and it really started my love and curiosity for other cultures. I will always remember my trips to Hong Kong and the lifelong friends that I made there. I hope to visit again some day soon.