Global Studies and Financial Economics double major and MLLI (Chinese) minor
I chose Shanghai, China as my study abroad destination because of its rich history, cultural and contemporary mix of city life, and diverse population in both Chinese citizens and foreigners alike. At East China Normal University, I direct enrolled into their Global Curriculum Program (GCP), which offers English taught courses and Chinese language courses dependent on a placement test. Of the classes I am taking, three of them will transfer over as upper Global Studies electives and one will transfer over as an elective for my Chinese minor. I am planning to complete my Global Studies major while abroad.
Academically speaking, I am learning more about modern issues in China and taking in-depth analyses about their consequences and solutions. For instance, one course has been discussing China’s ethnic minorities and their affirmative action problems while another course highlighted the growing problem regarding changing lifestyles and consumptions of the post-1980s generation.
From my study abroad experience, the things that are helping me grow personally are the excursions in the city and making new friends every day. There are so many international students around that I meet new people all the time.One intercultural challenge I have faced this time in China is that many people do not believe that I am American. I have received many comments before from strangers that I look Korean or that I resemble a Chinese citizen (considering my parents are from China, I am 100% Chinese but hold an American passport). The most disbelieving encounter I have had with this appearance challenge occurred in the elevator when another international student asked if I was Chinese, Korean, or Japanese. I responded I was American, when he firmly said that was impossible because I am not what
an American looks like. While I would have stayed longer to interact and possibly educate this fellow foreigner about stereotypes and preconceived perceptions, I was running late to class. Instead, I resolved the challenge by reminding myself that some people have not been exposed to westerners as much as others, and that everyone has different views on people and places.
My favorite thing about study abroad is definitely the food, along with the consequent pictures that are taken which are painstakingly posted to Instagram three days later because of the super slow wifi in China.