SUU Blog | T-Bird Nation

Volunteering in China, a Life Changing Destination

Shepherd, Taylor.jpgTaylor Shepherd was raised in the small town of Salina, UT, where he found joy performing on stage. That passion brought Taylor to Southern Utah University.

However, after his first semester in theater arts and much consideration, Taylor changed his major. Taylor’s diverse interests took him on a path through the Communication, English and Engineering departments.

It wasn’t until a volunteer experience as an English teacher in China that Taylor finally discovered a love and passion for hospitality and international relations. When Taylor came back to the states, he switched his major to Hotel, Resort & Hospitality Management.

“I can happily say that I feel at home,” said Taylor. “I have made lifelong friends and met colleagues that have opened doors for me that will propel me into my future career as an Event Manager.”

As a senior preparing to graduate, Taylor has decided to return to China as an international ambassador where he will oversee and manage roughly 18 volunteer teachers.

Taylor’s Leadership Capstone and Tourism Management classes have both been influential to Taylor’s success. The Leadership Capstone, taught by Emmett Steed, has helped him recognize his leadership style and how to work effectively with others. Tourism Management, taught by Janice Scarinci, opened his eyes to international opportunities. 

One of Taylor’s favorite things about SUU is the focus on experiential learning.

Taylor-Shepherd-China-Crop.jpg“(SUU) gave me the focus to ‘learn through experience,’” said Taylor. “As I followed that motto, I traveled to China, interned with possible career employers, gained student employment in my field of study, coordinated campus events, and worked alongside mentors who want me to succeed. My growth has been nourished from Day 1 at Southern Utah University.”

Ultimately, Taylor wants to own his own Destination Management Company where he plans to work directly with international businesses and individuals to provide a memorable experience of travel to destinations around the globe.

“As a soon-to-be graduate, I will 100% encourage attendance at Southern Utah University and hope to be able to give back to an institution that has given me so much.”

Learn more about SUU's HRHM program.