“The experience improved my Chinese language skills and gave me a new insight on Chinese culture. It increased my interest in traveling, and I hope to visit other countries in the future.”
I knew I wanted to take classes over the summer to receive major/breadth requirement credits, so I decided being able to fulfill requirements while traveling in another country would be a worthwhile experience. I chose to study in China because as a Chinese American, I wanted to learn more about my family's culture. Specifically, I chose Fudan University in Shanghai because it offered business/economics classes that would apply to my Economics major.
My most interesting cultural experience abroad was having to bargain with the shopkeepers for a cheaper price. It was kind of difficult at first, and I would often end up paying more than necessary, but I eventually got the hang of it.
My biggest concern was my lacking Chinese language skills. Although my parents speak Chinese at home, I always respond with English, so expressing myself using Chinese was difficult at first. However, throughout the program, the extensive exposure to the language helped me improve quickly, and I eventually had no problem getting around.
Typically, I would ride a bike from my dorms to class in the morning, finish class around lunch time, and eat with friends at the school cafeteria. Then I would go to my other class, and then ride back to the dorms. In the evening, I would go out with friends and explore parts of the city.
I took Business in China, Energy and the Environment, and Advanced Chinese. The courses were a lot smaller, but the professors tended to have different expectations for the students compared to professors at Berkeley. Rather than stressing class participation, they were mainly lecture based
The most memorable part of my experience was going on field trips to beautiful nearby cities, and having the day to explore historical sites. I learned a lot about Chinese culture and bought many meaningful souvenirs.
Personally, the experience improved my Chinese language skills and gave me a new insight on Chinese culture. It increased my interest in traveling, and I hope to visit other countries in the future.