FYI: The Holland Fellows Program

Holland Fellows Program Director Jesse Pipes welcomes two former Holland Fellows to the studio for a discussion of the history of the Holland Fellows and the impact the program has had on their lives.


  • Dave Blanks: This is Appalachain State’s FYI, a podcast designed to inform you – the campus community – about events and happenings. We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Holland Fellows Program and on this FYI the program director Jesse Pipes welcomes two former Holland Fellows to the studio. The three discuss the history of the Holland Fellows and talk about the impact the program has had on their lives. And now here’s Jesse.

    Jesse Pipes: My name is Jesse Pipes. I’m the current director of the Holland Fellows Program, and also a lecturer of entrepreneurship in the Walker College of Business here at Appalachian State University. So this morning I’m joined in the studio by Ben Hinson and Haley Holland. Now, I’m going to ask you two to introduce yourselves and sort of share a little about when you were first introduced to the Holland Fellows program, why you applied… and let's start with Haley because I think you need to make a clarification for us on that last name.

    Haley Holland: Absolutely, so there is no relation to Mr. Holland actually, but I was a 2014 Holland Fellows. I actually went to Appalachian for my undergrad in accounting and am now doing my master’s and will be graduating in May. So I actually got introduced to Holland Fellows through a former Holland Fellow, Davis Roberts and his mother. And I kind of heard about it, didn’t know what it was all about. So I kind of pushed it to the side. Then they sent one of those lovely brochures to your home and my father saw it and was like “Hey just do it, you know, it might be really cool. You never know what you might find.” And it turned out...I applied for it, didn’t really expect a whole lot and then I got the interview and then got the call and went completely nuts and was so excited. So that’s where my journey started in 2014 and I haven’t left Holland Fellows since as far as being always in the room with them every year.

    JP: Ben, you’re a recent graduate of the Holland Fellows program. So Haley sort of mentioned what it was like as far as process and hearing from Davis Roberts. But I’m wondering if you could tell me what did it feel like when you got that call that said you are accepted into the Holland Fellows program.

    Ben Hinson: Yeah absolutely, that was actually a really funny moment because both myself and my roommate, Clay Abernethy, applied to be Holland Fellows for 2015. And we were actually together when Dr. Henson called us. And so Dr. Henson called me first. She told me the good news, that I’d been accepted into the program, but then she made me hand the phone to Clay and she kind of pulled a little bit of a prank on him and told him he wasn’t accepted. (laughs) And then of course corrected that and told him that he’d been accepted. So we were both really excited. And it was just a really great moment. I knew that I just was really excited to get back over to China and to have some more time over there.

    JP: Okay so this wasn’t your first experience travelling to China

    BH: No it wasn’t. I am a Chinese minor with an International Business and Economics major. And, I had actually spent the summer of 2014 studying at Northeastern University in Shenyang as part of our Language Department Study Abroad Program.

    JP: Okay so I think that’s an interesting point of departure. I would like to ask you, Ben, to speak a little bit about that relationship that Appalachian has at Northeastern?

    BH: Uh yeah! Northeastern University in Shenyang. Shenyang is a city with about six million people. It is about eight hours north of Beijing. Northeastern in Shenyang is actually where Appalachian began its relationship with China. And it’s actually really interesting. That started sometime back in the 1970s, right as China was beginning to open up. And Appalachian was one of the first universities to have an exchange program with China. And so this is one of our oldest relationships with the university in China and it’s really cool to have been a part of a language study abroad program there.

    JP: Okay, so connecting that experience, now you’re working on a side research project associated with our relationship with just business studies in China, correct?

    BH: Yeah absolutely! I’m working with Dr. Schoenfeldt and some other professors to put together a history of Appalachian’s China relationship. It’s an incredible story. All the way back from the 70s when Dr. Thomas and Dr. Durham and some others really initiated this relationship with China. I just think it really needs to be written down. It really needs to be told. I think it’s an incredible story full of adventure.

    JP: This story starts back in the 70s and then we flash forward to 1995 and Dr. Peacock makes his first visit over to China, and sort of starts to see the future of program model. In my opinion, that really expresses this, or places value on student experiences abroad, okay. And so the story goes – and Dr. Peacock can tell a good story – and so apparently he’s sitting in an office trying to convince Mr. Holland, who is not related to Haley, that he has this idea for the premiere student exchange program. Perhaps in Appalachian, but specifically in the Walker College of Business, that’s going to allow our students, our business students, to travel to China and start to really understand the inner workings of just business relations with China. And as you mentioned Ben, umm China was starting to open up and we’ve seen a lot of changes over the years...but for me this program is really unique because it offers an experiential learning model for students. So it’s opening them up to the world of international business. And there are all these multiple forces. There’s technology, there are regulatory and environmental forces that act on any given international business contexts. And they shape what’s feasible and viable. So I’m wondering if you could speak to me a little about what it’s like to actually research business studies in China. What does it mean to research business studies in China as a Holland Fellow?

    HH: I actually did a dual process. So I went through the Holland Fellows Program. Fell in love with it. Fell in love with the idea of doing these business studies and I actually did my honors thesis on it for my undergrad. So I definitely have worked on this a little bit longer than just on Holland Fellows term, but it’s one of the most interesting, one of the hardest. But, you know, you always find something new everyday with it and I think it’s just finding that communication with your partner. Learning what sources are good, what sources aren’t. What’s trustworthy and what’s not. I think just definitely, you broaden your mindset from what you ever thought it was.

    JP: So this is, I guess we should back up perhaps and sort of set the stage for how this relationship actually works. What is it like to be a Holland Fellow? It’s a joint program with Fudan University (Haley is chuckling) and we sort of heard your “I got the call and I was excited!” but, paint a picture for me of what a semester is like as a Holland Fellow.

    HH: Okay, what you do is like, being on an airplane. You grab your seatbelt, you hook it together, and you get ready for a ride, because that's what a semester for a Holland Fellow is like. You’re going full speed. I think Ben can easily say that's kind of what it is. Especially during these two weeks whenever the Chinese students come here and you’re wanting to show them everything and even though Boone might be small there's just so much you want to do, so much you want to see but then you've got to also work. But you've been doing this research beforehand but then you get here and there's just so much more to do than you ever expected.

    JP: That’s a unique thing and Ben maybe you can talk about the structure of the Holland Fellows program. So typically the way this works; we actually, umm early in the semester we select twelve students from Appalachian State University and simultaneously there are twelve students in the business school at Fudan University in Shanghai. We pair you up, charge you with a broad research topic and as Haley said, we sort of give you this ‘here's how not to die, please go forth and come back with a polished product in two weeks, and so, maybe tell us about how you actually communicate with your partner. Haley set us up and said they come to ASU but tell us about the use of technology and actually building and developing this relationship and starting the foundation of a research project before you’ve ever met someone face to face.

    BH: Yeah, I definitely think that's one of the biggest challenges of the Holland Fellows program. So, you start your spring semester and you have this new friend that you’ve met over, you know, messages; whether that's v-chat or email. You have this huge research project ahead of you that you basically have to start with somebody that you've never met before. And so, you spend this whole semester, diving in, trying to find research. Figuring out how to work with somebody internationally who has different data sets and everything. But everything really comes together once the Chinese students get to the United States, once they actually get here and you see them face to face; that's really when you start being able to work together with somebody really successfully I think.

    JP: Haley tell me about that moment when, you’re in the airport in Charlotte, you’re expecting to see your partner in person for the first time and up to this point they've only been a person on a computer screen, they come down the stairs and you see them for the first time.

    HH: It's surreal because at that point you don't know who you’ve been really talking to. You have a painted image of this person, you've seen photos of them and I think for our group we had Skyped them a couple times, but it's just in that moment when they come down the stairs you just see these big smiles and it's like a family reunion even though none of you have ever truly met in person before. And you know, they come down from the stairs and it's like, hugs, and signs are up and they're just so excited and the room is filled with so much excitement and joy that this journey is like starting for them because they've come over here and now the real fun begins I guess.

    JP: I like that phrase ‘the journey begins’ because the thing that I've seen about the Holland Fellows program is that it is a journey for students, right. So this experiential learning opportunity is unique in that it exposes you to these different cultural experiences, right. You had the fortunate opportunity to travel in china before and so maybe that kind of gives you a better understanding of what to expect, but I’m really curious about drawing this connection of the student experience and relating that to some of the cultural differences that we see both at the academic level and at the business level and that’s sort of what's driving the interest in the Holland Fellows program; the exposure to understanding both the cultural context and the business environment of tomorrow in my opinion.

    BH: Yeah definitely, one of the things I actually did not get to experience the first summer I was in China was working on an academic level with Chinese students. I was absolutely, incredibly blown away with how deep of an understanding they had with these topics that we were studying, with economics, with international studies and when they came over here to the United States and we were really able to have that face-to- face conversation with each other, it really made me realize that these were some of the brightest students that I had ever worked with anywhere. So I think that it was really an incredibly humbling experience getting to work with these students that are very smart, very passionate about these different topics.

    JP: So how do the two of you feel like that translates looking forward? So you’ve had this experience, you met your partner for the first time over the Internet, they arrive here in the United States, at some point I actually want us to move forward and talk about your experience abroad but I’d like to back up and actually ask you to talk a little bit more about what’s it like for a student from Fudan University in Shanghai, which, if you’re listening, you probably know that Shanghai is a slightly larger city than Boone. What’s it like for those students to actually arrive here in this small mountain town and we’re surrounded by mountains and trees and nature, try to paint a picture for me of what it’s like for them, for your partner if you can.

    HH: You get on that bus after you’ve met each other, you are talking the whole time, they're not really paying attention, it's in the middle of the night that you’re coming back up to Boone so that next day when they are able to see what it's like to be in Boone, to see the small mountain town that's not really known to them. These students know New York City, they know San Francisco, and they know these bigger cities – not Boone, North Carolina. I think it's just that moment when they’re looking around and it's these beautiful mountain sceneries, it's a clear blue sky, a chance of snow or whatever weather might come up in ten minutes, that moment where they’re in a completely different area but they're so welcoming to it. I can say from a personal experience, some of the students from our group didn't know what stars were, had never seen them before. So we took them out one night to Moses Cone Manor, they had no clue what we were doing. We told them to go out into the middle of the field and to look up and it's a moment that I’ll never forget because there was one who just started crying uncontrollably because she said it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. There were others who just couldn't even speak and there were others who were trying to take pictures and it wasn't coming up with the stars, they wanted to capture that moment forever.

    JP: I think that's a really interesting perspective because we kind of come from this beautiful mountainous region and it's these things we’re used to seeing every day that we don't actually realize provide a very unique experience for someone else and I think we have to put that in the context of understanding just how big Shanghai is. The growth that we’re seeing in China.

    And we hear a lot in the media about the pollution in Beijing and all of these warnings about being inside and that's kind of getting off topic. Really what I want to try to do is Ben perhaps you can kind of tell us from your experience in China on multiple occasions, why is it that seeing stars for the first time is such a moving experience for a student from Fudan?

    BH: I’ve probably spent about six or seven months in total in China and I’ve really traveled many many different places, north to south, east to west. It’s so hard to get out of a city; it’s so hard to escape the metropolis, to escape industrialization. Even if you go to some of the natural wonders, West Lake, some of these beautiful mountains, Shaolin Temple, in that area, you don’t fully get away from development. It sprawls in a way that you can’t understand. Shanghai is a city of 20 million people and the way that it dwarfs a place like Boone is really indescribable. If you really want to talk about it scientifically, the light pollution in China is just all over the place. You're not going to see stars if you're anywhere on the east coast and people actually pay thousands of dollars to travel way out far west, far away from cities just so they can gaze up and see the night sky by itself.

    JP: That’s really interesting to me. My first trip to China I was in sort of in a reverse awe’ at just how big and expansive the cities were, and for me it's almost like we’re at two polar extremes and it's like this poignant piece for me of seeing Appalachian with such a global reach. As students, I’m wondering if you can kind of articulate for me, what it's like to go through the Holland Fellows program, come out on the other side, and how do you feel like that sets you up for the future? Haley wants to put you on the spot Ben, and I know that's kind of a loaded question, but I’m just curious. This experience of being a Holland Fellow is introducing you to an innovative approach to collaboration. It’s giving you different insights and learning a process. I see it being a process of how to work with someone from a different culture, to deal with, as you mentioned, data sets that come from a very different context, and I think we have to understand politically the situational difference between China and the US, but I think it’s equips you with a certain set of skills and attributes to navigate this increasingly complex international business environment. So how does the Holland Fellows program distinguish you or set you up for what your aspirations are for the future?

    BH: We’ve been talking about how incredibly blessed we are that we can see the night skies in Boone, that we can go five minutes off campus and be on a mountain somewhere and I think that’s something that’s really special about this area, special about North Carolina, special about the United States in general but what the Holland Fellows does for all of the American students is that it gives us a larger perspective into the world. The majority of people don’t live in a college town of 40 thousand people. The majority of people in the world live in huge cities where they don't have the opportunities to go and hang out next to a river when they’ve had a stressful day or go drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and decompress. Being in these different environments, in these city environments especially like they have in China, it causes people to think differently, it causes them to learn differently and I think that's really important. It's a really important perspective for people from a small town like Boone to really be able to get and to understand and to really get a complete education on what the world is today.

    JP: So Hailey I’m going to ask you to dovetail on Ben’s comment there. The question or comment is, it almost feels a little like, I think our students going on short term to Costa Rica, to somewhere in South America, we’ve led programs into Patagonia, but it's almost like, the Fudan students are coming to Appalachian for a unique experience where there’s this small mountain community and I've heard comments from faculty and staff at Fudan that they are duly impressed by the level of academic performance of our students, the insight and knowledge for this small mountain region. So I’m wondering if you could talk to us a little bit about and come back to how you think this changes your life but what does it mean to have Fudan students come to Appalachian State University and learn about our community, about our university what our students are doing to contribute to the world of international business.

    HH: I mean, I think all study abroad programs are an amazing opportunity for anybody. Costa Rica, you go to Amsterdam wherever that may be. I think the difference is that sets Holland fellows apart is not only are we going somewhere, but we’re hosting someone. Bringing them into our culture, and into our society. We get to be hosted, but we also are the hostess or however you want to say that. I think it’s an interesting opportunity for us to able to get into a car and take them to Rough Ridge or to drive, two hours and go to Charlotte whatever it may be. I think that it’s these small opportunities to show them just how small the world is, but also how big it is too. You know they come from multi-million people in their towns and cities and what not, you come to this small town. There is nobody pushing each other around, everyone is saying hi, opening up doors for each other. I think that this is a huge culture difference, as both on a culture level and an academic level if they get to enjoy that.

    JP: Could you speak to any challenges that you faced? You learn about the cultural difference when you’re trying to navigate the ambiguity of a research topic with a student from Fudan and partnership. But also the reality is we have twenty-four minds sitting in a room when they arrive here. All trying to come and develop one voice and a common thread around a research topic. So I wonder if Haley could you tell us what your research topic was? And a little about some of the challenges you faced as a result of those cultural differences that you mentioned.

    HH: So the 2014 Holland Fellows actually did ours on farm to table. So it was the production, regulation and consumption of food in China and the United States. So this was kind of interesting for us I think, and I could say for Ben’s group knowing them, it’s twenty-four leaders. So at some point or another you’ve got to figure out when do you become the follower, when do you collaborate to have multiple leaders? It’s a moment of communication and learning you have to be open-minded, adaptable. There’s going to be times where you’re going to be doing a ton of research and you can’t be totally committed to that research because it might not be what you need and you have to throw it out and you have to be super adaptable to it. I think sometimes that can be frustrating for people when you sit in the rooms doing the research and collaborating together. I think at a certain point you have to say, okay there’s twenty-four wonderful minds and wonderful opinions. We need to condense this a little bit and maybe have group leaders and those four will go talk and have some sort of communication with one another. And I think you do that beforehand, but it really comes into fruition whenever you are here and you’re sitting face to face and you’ve got two languages going back and forth. Different thoughts and minds, ideas, everything just coming all-together as one. So I think it’s just really just a moment of how do you condense so much knowledge into one paper because there’s so much to say and learn through that process that it’s almost overwhelming. But it’s overwhelming in a good way.

    JP: So you spend a semester developing this research paper and then you’re tasked with also coming up with a presentation that must feature twenty-four people. So that sounds a little like choreography to me. But so Ben, what was your research topic last semester as part of the Holland’s Fellows Program? And then maybe you could tell us a little about what it feels like to step up that stage in Shanghai on the academic arm of the Shanghai academic forum? Just try to take me there.

    BH: So my Holland Fellows year studied consumption between the United States and China. And this is kind of a really interesting topic. Especially in China because their middle class is growing exponentially and you have people moving into cities. And they’re trying to kind of move away from a model that is purely manufacturing to a model based on consumption and a service based economy. And so it’s really interesting to study the United State’s role in this process and how our two countries are interacting with that.

    But as far as standing on that stage in June and presenting to everybody. It is certainly a feeling of accomplishment. You have many many months of research under your belt. You’ve had many sleepless hours staying awake late at night. Trying to get this stuff together. Trying to put together a cohesive narrative. And really trying to learn about this really expansive topic. And so standing on that stage, finally having it all together is an absolutely incredible feeling. Because I was in the first group, I was the first one to speak. I actually had to introduce our presentation. So I was up there a couple minutes longer than everybody else. And, I think when I got down I was a little bit jittery, but it was certainly a really good feeling.

    JP: I imagine we are probably getting close to our time here so I’m going to put you both on the spot here for a little bit. What I’d like for you to actually do, and this is more for me, is just actually close your eyes. Um I know we are in the podcast studio here ASU, but I want you to think back on a particular moment as a Holland Fellow and I’d like for you to sort of just visualize that particular moment and as it becomes clear I just want you to share with me that particular moment that you think has changed your life for the better.

    BH: There’s a lot of moments, Imam have to think for a second

    HH: That’s what I’m sitting here thinking, there’s not just one moment in my mind that could come up right away. I think it’s so ---

    JP: Okay so why do you think that it’s so many moments that it’s almost the entire experience? I call it an experience, but it seems to be so much more than that. So I think it’s difficult to articulate, but I’m trying to see if there is a takeaway. I’ve heard this phrase, "Once a fellow, always a Holland Fellow.” Okay so, what does that mean?

    BH: You know I think it’s really hard to sum up a relationship in one moment. I think a relationship is about all the moments put together, but I definitely can remember some of the big ones, umm..even when we just arrived in Shanghai and were met by all of the Chinese students in our program. You know, we probably haven’t seen them in two months or something like that and they just showed up at the train station, bought us all breakfast. They had everything ready for us. They had T-shirts ready for us. Yeah and immediately we felt like we had been inadequate hosts. And, I just remember that whole week we were in Shanghai just feeling how blessed we were to have these students hosting us. How welcomed we were to be there and how much we just felt like we were part of a bigger family. Whether that’s being a part of the Holland Fellows family, the Fudan family, or just being welcomed into China and feeling like we had a place there. So I think that’s probably one of the most impactful moments that I had

    JP: What about, you Haley? So it seems that there’s this common thread that this program yes puts you through so many trials and tribulations in terms of the academic rigor and trying to develop a research project, but what makes it unique is actually so much more. It’s this relationship building. It’s the process of going through a Holland Fellows program that is so unique. I think it’s interesting that when I look at both of you and ask you to pinpoint one moment and how it changes your life, that seems to be a very difficult question to answer. But I think that in itself might be an answer so could you try to pick something that makes you feel like the Holland Fellows Program has changed your life for the better? As you look to your future, and your studying accounting correct?

    HH: Correct

    JP: Okay so, is there something from this experience that you think either differentiates yourself or just sets you apart so that you’re always going to be a Holland Fellow. What does that mean?

    HH: I think it just starts in the beginning. You come in as one person and you leave out a completely different person in the best way possible. You know I’ve been told that by multiple family members friends, I think you thought you spread your wings by coming into college...but you haven’t until you have such an experience that takes you through trial, tribulations, and triumph. Moments where you’re sitting there saying I can’t do this. I can’t stay up any longer; you know I can’t even keep my eyes open. But you can because there is a part of it. Coming out of it, I think Ben can agree to this, you almost - I don’t know how you would put this - you value the experience after it than when you are within it. And I think that is something that whenever we as former Holland Fellows can sit here and look at the new class and how they are going through all these experiences. I think you learn communication. That’s huge when we go into the business world. Learning how to work with different cultures, different work ethics. Then you might be placed in situations where you might be uncomfortable, you might not know what’s going to happen and I think that’s what Holland Fellows provides. It provides that opportunity to become comfortable with yourself enough to handle uncomfortable situations. Do things on the go, to be able to communicate and to just go as a person. I know you want one single moment, but you can’t put it in one moment. You can’t put nine months of a journey into a moment.

    JP: Yeah. It is that collection of moments. It is …

    HH: It is.

    JP: …It is that journey. From the academic perspective that’s why I’m so drawn to this program. It’s the process. I think it establishes a very unique experiential education model where you have this extreme change between students. It’s student led research and as a faculty member I am the observer and the occasionally not so silent yes you can, you know, push yourselves further. I want to raise that ceiling for you. As we kind of bring our conversation to a close, I would be kind of remiss not to mention is that there is a gentleman, Bill Holland, who made this program possible almost twenty years ago. And I’m kind of curious from Holland Fellows as students, what would you say to him if he were sitting before us today?

    BH: Umm, I think that...I mean obviously start off by thanking him from the bottom of my heart. But I would really like to tell him how I’ve changed as being part of this program, everything that it’s done for me, educationally. And umm even what I’m looking forward to after education. And, I think that’s something that is priceless and couldn’t of come from many of the other student abroad programs. I think that this one really has a kind of interesting process like you were talking about that just creates something so much deeper and special than really many of the programs out there.

    JP: What about you Haley?

    HH: I mean I definitely think that more than a thank you is so needed for this. Being a first generation college student, I never really expected that I would go to China. That was never something whenever I looked at my four-year plan, that was never something that was there. Going to China was the experience of a lifetime. Like I said before, you come in one person, but you leave out another. And that person that comes out is so much more articulated, so much more ready for the world and I think those are values that you can’t put a price on. I came out with a family. I started out with twenty-three other individuals that I didn’t really know. I came out of it with twenty-three individuals that are family. I mean, at any point and time you can call any of them up and they’ll be there for you on the spot. If you want to text somebody to, “how was your day” whatever it may be. I think it’s just the camaraderie of it. I think that’s something he definitely provides. I think it's something that’s not really known and I think that it’s also the skills and where you grow. For me personally, to be able to find my wings and soar farther than I ever thought is something that I’ll never be able to articulate in words other than just we smile when we think about it. We laugh when we reminisce about it. We want to tell our story and we have that story to tell. I think that’s something to say thank you for

    JP: You know absolutely. I think one of the points for me is that as the Holland Fellows are selected, both here at Appalachian and at Fudan, they really have no clue. They have no clue what they are capable of. And as I sit here today with the two of you, I am sort of reminded why this program is so important. Why we are so grateful to have this opportunity, but it’s one part the process and experience you gain but for me it’s sitting here hearing you talk about a program that makes me feel like you still have no clue what you’re capable of and we can look forward to you as students here and part of our community that have been exposed to a world that is so much bigger than ourselves. And I can just say that I am excited to see what the two of you do in the next part of your journey. And I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart as well for sitting in here today and reminiscing, laughing

    HH: Yes

    JP: and smiling. And going through those moments of just what is it to be a Holland Fellow. You know we’ve been talking about the Holland Fellows experience, but if we put this in the context of the current geo-political state. There is a lot of conversation on the relationship of the US and China. And so if there was ever a time to follow the research, to follow what’s in the media about this relationship. But more importantly, to actually have a conversation with a former Holland Fellow. To look forward to the continuation of research that is this between Fudan students in Shanghai, China and Appalachian State University students. I think that this provides us with the opportunity to have a more clear perspective of where people are sitting on both sides of the conversation. As we look at the development and the emerging business environment and the relationship between China and the US, never has there been a more opportune time to listen to a Holland Fellow.

    BH: Yeah and I think as China began to open up in the 70s and end of the 90s, that was really a government push. That’s something that the government realized that they needed for the future of their country. But the relationship of China and the United States going forward is something that is going to be done by business leaders and individuals by these cultural exchanges and getting to understand each other’s cultures and each others lives. And what the Holland Fellows does is that it opens up the conversation between leaders in the United States and leaders in China. Future business leaders and future politicians. And I think that’s what’s so valuable about this program and what’s so valuable about the future relationship of the United States and China in general is that it’s going to be driven by these conversations. It’s not policy. Everything that we are hearing about in politics today is kind of on the peripheral. You know umm what’s actually going to be driving change and building this relationship is the people, the individuals. And that’s why I think this program is so exciting and why I would encourage everybody out there who’s invited to apply. Try to be a part of the program.

    HH: I think it’s just that sometimes we do get so jaded by what’s in the news and what’s going on from other people’s perspective that it is almost to the point where you have this opportunity to go and experience it for itself. To be able to go to China and to see it first hand. You know these things that you’ve it false? Is it true? How does this policy work, how does this go? I think it’s just a moment where you get to learn for yourself. Where somebody’s not telling you, but you get to I guess have your own self-realization with it and that’s not something you can really do in a lot of other ways. I mean you can go travel there by yourself, but you’re going to go by yourself and you’re going to go with a tour guide, but with this program you do have that research to kind of be your foundation. You have individuals who live in China and in different parts and can really give you a sense of understanding from their perspective and can really just make more of a personal experience for you rather than just ...Oh this is what this tour guide said or Oh this is what the news said, I don’t want to go over there. Just you know spread your wings, do something new. Never I guess feel like you’ve finished growing because there is no way shape or form that ever happens. I think you know, like you said Jessie, we have the world at our fingertips kind of thing, but it’s also that we have so much to learn that we don’t even realize that we’ve gotten from this program. And I think that’s just the beauty of what it is. If you have the opportunity to do it, just do it, take that leap of faith and never look back because you’ll appreciate it way down the line. I mean it’s like the gift that keeps on giving.

    JP: Absolutely. Yeah thank you both for joining us today. Again my name’s Jessie and I’m the current director of the Holland Fellows Program and really this has been a conversation that I think just captures why we want to draw recognition to the fact that this is the 20th year of the Holland Fellows Program here at Appalachian State University in the Walker College of Business. I look forward to hearing from you two in the future and seeing how this program continues to shape your lives and I just wanted to say thank you.

    HH: Thank you.

    BH: Thanks, Jessie

    HH: Once a Holland Fellow, always a Holland Fellow, right?

    BH: Absolutely