Taking China to the Max

Hello everyone, I am Maxwell Vance and welcome to my blog. I am a rising sophomore at Pitt and a chemical engineering major. I took a six hour drive across Pennsylvania from my Philadelphia adjacent hometown of Abington to first move in to my home away from home, Pittsburgh. My first two semesters have already been a new experience for me that have taught me many important life lessons, like why procrastination is bad, and grown me as a person. I am excited to take on China and the many lesson’s my trip is bound to teach me and ready to make many great memories with the others going on my trip.

I ended up choosing Pitt in my senior year of high school, a time that feels like ages ago, because of its great engineering program and sweet spot of distance away from my parents. I’ve always had a curiosity for how the world works ever since I was a little kid. This curiosity grew into the love for science and math that I have today, which is the reason I love engineering. For me, engineering is taking what is already known about the world and reworking it into something completely new. I am not completely sure what exactly I want to do with my chemical engineering degree once I graduate from the University of Pittsburgh because of its applications, but my dream goal is to use the science and math I learn through my chemical engineering degree to contribute to solving the ongoing world water crisis by providing accessible, practical, and affordable water sources to the countries that struggle to meet their people’s basic water needs, such as countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

When I first came to Pitt in September as a more naive freshman I thought I could participate in every club that tabled at the activities fair, but now I realize its only really possible to be active in a few. Currently, I am a part of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Black Action Society (BAS), and the Pitt Olympic Weightlifting club. What little free time I do have after my clubs, many classes, and annoying yet necessary studying I mainly use to explore Pittsburgh through walks through Schenley Park and scavenger hunts throughout the city with my friends.

Exploring Pittsburgh is fun but exploring China has me much more excited. Besides short trips to Canada and Mexico, I have only been abroad in Italy (not counting my layover in Germany) so I am excited to get more traveling experience. China was one of my top three choices when I initially applied for Plus3 so finally going to China is sort of a dream come true for me. Why China? Well I feel like traveling there is always at the top of anyone’s bucket list and I can’t wait to see a place with such a different culture and history than the United States. With so many historical sites to see and beautiful landscapes it’ll be hard not to fill my blog up.

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