Where did you go? When?
Program: CIEE Intensive Chinese Language; Peking University.
Fall 2009 & Spring 2010.
Why did you pick the program and location?
I decided to study in Beijing because it’s the capital of China, where the best and brightest students in all of China go to study. It’s also a great place to learn standard Mandarin. I chose the CIEE program at Peking University because I wanted to be at a school that has more Chinese students than International students. Other study abroad programs are located at schools primarily focused on teaching Chinese to foreigners.
Would you recommend this location to another student and why?
Yes; I love Beijing! One great thing about living in Beijing is the subway system. You can get to all the fun places in the city using the subway.
What are the benefits of studying abroad? (Personal/ academic)
My major is Chinese Studies, and I learned more about the language and culture there in China than I could have if I had stayed in the US. Plus, learning a language is so much more fun if you’re in an environment where you can use what you learn! Besides the language and cultural aspects, there are other things about yourself and life in general that you can’t learn unless you study abroad. Therefore, I highly suggest those with an adventurous spirit to consider studying abroad.
What advice would you give to somebody considering studying abroad?
#1: If you go, take the initiative to make friends with Chinese people!
It was sad for me to see so many of my American classmates go through the whole semester without making efforts to build relationships with Chinese people. I realize that it is much easier to be friends with other international students, and a bit nerve-wracking to go up to strangers to ask if they want to be your friend, but after doing so myself and making a few good Chinese friends, it was so worth it. I loved hanging out with my Chinese friends, speaking Chinese with them and learning from them.
#2: Consider studying abroad for two semesters rather than one.
If you truly want to learn the language, it takes time, and one semester is definitely not enough! Even after two semesters, I found that I wished I could have spent more of my college career studying in China. The feeling of learning something in class and actually being able to use it outside of class is amazing. You don’t get to do that every day if you study in the states.