Program and Location:
Summer, China: Operations & Human Resource Management; Shanghai, China
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I have always wanted to go to Asia and it was between Korea and China and in the end I picked China because there was a summer program that went towards my degree. I like to step outside my comfort zone and I saw spending 5 weeks in Shanghai as an opportunity to do so with the limited Mandarin knowledge that I do have.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned how to be comfortable being by myself. Back home, especially at a University, you’re always surrounded by your friends who live so close and even if they’re not you can just text them but it’s a different story when you’re 12 hours ahead of everyone else.
What was one of your favorite parts of your program?
My favorite part of the program was being in a city where there’s so much available to do. I don’t have a car back home which can be very limiting but in a city like Shanghai that doesn’t really matter. There was plenty of food places that were close by that I could walk to which I ABSOLUTELY LOVED! There were a million boba tea shops to go to too which was amazing. I would eat and drink boba so much every day and burn it all off walking to my next destination. If something wasn’t close enough to walk to, we would simply take the metro which was really easy to use even for foreigners. Being such a big city there was so much of it that went unexplored.
What advice do you have to future study abroad students?
Save up a LOT of money especially for China, you can get so much stuff for cheap but since everything’s so cheap you just keep buying without thinking about the price and it can add up.
Were you surprised by anything during your time abroad?
I was surprised by the openness to foreigners that I experienced in China. If you were a foreigner you got treated better at certain facilities and in some of the major city areas they could speak English as well.
In what ways did your identity have an impact on your experience abroad?
I didn’t experience as much discrimination as I’d expected, the only thing that really happened is that people would be surprised when I was able to communicate with them since I look like I wouldn’t know Mandarin. Shanghai is a major city in China so they’re accustomed to seeing foreigners but when people from more rural areas saw me some of them would ask if they could get a picture which I found pretty amusing.
Would you do it again?
Yes! I loved China so much