Alumni spotlight: Yuxi Xia, JYM Sommersemester 2019
JYM caught up with Sommersemester 2019 alumna Yuxi Xia. Yuxi has returned to Munich to pursue a Master of Arts in Environment and Society at LMU's Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society.
How did the JYM experience impact you academically?
During JYM, I shadowed graduate-level courses at the LMU, which provided a helpful background for me as I decided to return to LMU for grad school last year.
Being in Germany gave me the time and space (and the culture that comes with the room) to start thinking more about a reasonable work/study-life balance, and I realized that it’s okay to take time and slow down in my studies rather than being hyper-focused on getting things done fast and running on auto-pilot.
I found that I digest materials much better when I take things more slowly and allow myself time to ponder, which is definitely a lesson that I’ve carried forward with me and that is especially important when it comes to creative work. I’m almost always more creative when I’m more relaxed, and I’d love to cultivate more creativity in my academic work (and life in general).
What was the most important aspect of JYM that influenced your decision to take part in our program?
JYM’s long history, location in Munich, and affiliation with the LMU all appealed to me. Also, it was the most affordable study-abroad program in Germany that I could find.
If you could give advice to someone who is considering studying abroad what would it be?
Be open to exploring without preconceptions. And if you are coming to Germany, bring a good appetite for bread! After all, the convenience of going to a bakery and getting fresh bread daily is not to be neglected.
Tell us about an experience that impacted you during JYM
I had many couchsurfing trips both in and outside of Germany on the weekends during JYM, which provided great opportunities for cross-cultural, sometimes eye-opening exchanges. Some conversations I had with people I met along the way still remain memorable to me; in some ways, they’ve even shaped the ways I relate to others.
I also appreciated the field trip we took to Switzerland in the class called “Mountains in German Literature and Film.” We spent a long weekend in Leuk, exploring the town and the landscapes. It’s special to me also because it's the kind of experience that I don't think I'd have as a solo traveler.
What are you doing now and what are your forthcoming plans?
During JYM, I visited the Rachel Carson Center (RCC) at LMU every week for their Tuesday Discussions, a course for their Environmental Studies Certificate students which I could audit. I so enjoyed going there every week and stayed on RCC’s mailing list after I left Munich. I had envisioned coming back here one day for further studies, so when I received news that the new master’s program in Environment and Society launched this year, I decided to apply. The timing worked out very well for me since I had just left my first full-time job at the beginning of last year.
I will graduate from the M.A. program in the summer of 2024. Afterward, my first step is to start my Watson Fellowship in August 2024, which will be a year-long travel research project around the world. Here’s a story about me as a recipient of the Watson Fellowship for context. I imagine that my experiences during the Watson would further shape my future plans, but in general, I hope to work on cultivating social and environmental transformations, with a focus on creating practical, caring, and just solutions that would enable more communities to eat more plant-based foods and live sustainably with the more-than-human world.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
After having done the program, I realize I also really appreciate being a JYM alumna, and I’m excited to engage more in the alumni community in the future.
We thank Yuxi for taking the time to share with us, and send her congratulations on receiving the Watson Fellowship! We look forward to learning about where the future leads you.
More about the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society
The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC) is an international center dedicated to the study of environment and society from a wealth of different disciplines and international perspectives. Junior Year in Munich has collaborated with RCC to offer courses in the environmental history of Germany, which has been a popular course amongst JYM students!