Hello! My name is Emily and I’m currently a junior majoring in Environmental Studies and Economics. This summer, I participated in the Chinese Business Language and Culture Program at Fudan University.
When I was looking at where to study abroad, I always knew that language would be a huge consideration. I loved learning languages and I didn’t want to go to another English-speaking country, because I really wanted to experience a different culture and work on developing my skills in another language.
I was deciding between going to Spain or China because I’ve only ever studied Spanish and Chinese. I ultimately decided on going to China, because as a Chinese-American that has never been there, I felt that it was important to visit the country that my parents grew up in. I had only taken 1 year of Chinese in my life here at Binghamton, and I knew that the best way to practice and improve my language skills was to immerse myself in Chinese culture and daily life. Through research, I came across a Binghamton program at Fudan University; it was perfect because it was in the summer and could fit into in my tight schedule. A bonus was that it in was in Shanghai, the city where my father grew up in.
In so many ways, this study abroad experience has changed me for the better. It has provided with me with countless new experiences, new perspectives, and a chance to meet people from all over the world. I was able to visit all these amazing sights- the Bund, Yuyuan Gardens, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall. I tried delicious, cheap, but a little sketchy street food. I took classes and became friends with students from Norway, England, Japan, Hungary, etc., all with the common goal of learning Chinese, but all with such different lifestyles back home.
This experience has also encouraged me to take pride in my identity as a Chinese- American and truly work towards mastering the Chinese language. For a long time, I resisted the idea of learning Chinese because of embarrassment and fear of seeming “less American.” However, after meeting people from around the world in China, I realized how important and beautiful of a language Chinese is and I gained a greater appreciation of Chinese culture. I had only wished I used my parents more as a resource in the past. However, now I am more motivated than ever to continue to learn and practice Chinese. I can only hope it is not too late for me to become fluent in this language.
I had a wonderful experience in China and I am so glad I was able to study abroad. Without a doubt, I would recommend study abroad to everyone. Through this experience, I became more independent, adventurous, and more comfortable with using a foreign language. I definitely want to visit China again and I’m actually thinking about studying abroad again!
Emily Lee, a Environmental Studies and Economics major, studied abroad on the China: Chinese Business Language & Culture at Fudan University program during summer 2017.