TCC student to head to China

Published 10:20 pm Monday, April 15, 2019

Suffolk resident and Tidewater Community College student Opal Lewis will travel to China with other students across the United States this summer. She and others nationwide were selected for the International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on International Relations and Diplomacy.

ISLP is one of the Envision family programs, which have served more than 800,000 students in more than 145 countries, according to the press release, with programs designed to help students develop the leadership, scholarship and career skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive college and career landscape.

The International Relations and Diplomacy delegation is a unique opportunity for students to explore and prepare for a career in diplomatic affairs, according to

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Lewis was selected based on her impressive academic achievements and interest in business. It wasn’t just that she maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and made the President’s List for 12 straight semesters; she was also the president of Phi Theta Kappa’s Chi Mu Chapter at the Portsmouth campus for two years, according to the press release.

She’s been a president of her chapter and a full-time student — all while working three jobs. She said it took “sheer dedication” to maintain her GPA, work three jobs and promote outreach for her chapter.

“I wanted to leave a lasting impression on my chapter,” she said. “Also I wanted to lay a solid foundation for future cabinet members and the president. I felt it extremely necessary to use my platform to encourage and motivate students and future students who are curious about becoming a scholar and a traveler.”

She will board a plane on May 27 to visit Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. She recently studied abroad in Prague and Budapest and hopes to have a career that involves intercultural studies and traveling.

She wants to have a better understanding of other cultures around the world, because that’s how people find greater empathy and comprehension, she wrote in an email.

“We as people live in this world together. With that being said, there needs to be a functional relationship. The only way to gain understanding and efficient communication is to know the language and day-to-day culture of other countries,” she wrote.