Written by Michael Xia.

Interested in studying abroad or going global? Here are four different ways to make the most of your experience, inspired by my time in Europe last semester and the Four Defining Leadership Principles at Haas.

Question the Status Quo

Explore places you never would. Do things you never would. Whether it be climbing the tallest mountain in Poland or running through the flooded waters of Venice, never be afraid to QTSQ. Those moments that I stepped out of my comfort zone in Europe were when I grew the most. 

Photobombed by a local Venetian–I think he owned a restaurant there.

Student Always

Explore new places and meet new people—and don’t be afraid to reach out! Whether it be visiting historic sites or interacting with strangers, there is always an opportunity to learn. Develop an open mindset towards new ideas, and you’ll find yourself embracing the #StudentAlways attitude in no time. 


Confidence Without Attitude

Believe in yourself, but don’t get ahead of yourself. You’ll be away from home for a while, so learn to embrace the responsibilities of adulthood as quickly as you can. Although this might mean learning how to cook for the first time or doing your own laundry, maintaining confidence without attitude will help you stay grounded and live independently abroad. 

First attempt cooking stir fry. Although it wasn’t the best, I now know how to boil rice in a pot.

Beyond Yourself

Finally, make sure to think beyond yourself! This means paying it forward, giving back to others, and showing your gratitude and appreciation to those around you. Food can seldom go wrong, and I made sure to stash up on treats from all around Europe to bring back to my family and friends. 

When a friend from Paris hosted me, I made sure to bring her sweets: króka ( a Polish caramel) and merci chocolate (in honor of her native language)!



  • Countries visited: 10 (England, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Prague, Poland)
  • Cities: ~20
  • Favorite cities? Paris, Madrid/Barcelona, Venice
  • Favorite moment? All of them 
  • Would do again? 10/10


By Michael Xia

Feel free to connect with me! You can reach me at: 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/michaeldxia  

Email: [email protected]

Previous Humans of Haas: Kellie McElhaney Next Humans of Haas: Neha Dubey