My Perfect Study Abroad Match: Beijing, China

Katie Minor
February 6, 2017

The choices of where to study abroad seemed endless. Spend a day in France eating a croissant and being able to visit the Eiffel Tower on the weekend? Going to Italy and being able to drink wine with good food at every meal? Going to Australia to see kangaroos and hear Australian accents all day- sign me up! And these were just some of the popular study abroad locations I could choose from.

In my lifetime, I haven’t traveled to many countries- just France, Mexico, and China.  Out of all the choices that I had at my fingertips, I decided to study abroad in China’s capital, Beijing. It was a difficult decision- choosing between traveling somewhere I haven’t been and experiencing something new or going back to a place where I have history and was familiar with the culture.

There are several reasons why I wanted to go back to China, and those reasons are conveniently saved on my laptop. The major reasons are: I’ve learned the language since my freshman year of high school, was born here, and really wanted to go back to the city where I was born. It was really a no-brainier choosing to study with IES Abroad, as it was one of the only programs that offered sociology classes and a “traditional” study abroad experience. Sure, I had the opportunity to do my own sociological research project for a different program, but I wouldn’t have really had the opportunity to travel by myself. 

I felt like IES Abroad had exactly what I was looking for, plus, I could live in a dorm with a Chinese roommate and I wouldn’t have to commute everyday. The program even had a required center language pledge! I won’t lie, that was very intimidating, but I felt like I would either sink or swim right? I joked with all of my good friends back home that I wouldn’t talk in Beijing at all! But I realized that here it’s impossible. I really wanted to increase my fluency in Chinese so I felt like being “forced” to speak would really give me the encouragement I needed.

I haven’t been disappointed at all with anything here. In fact, I don’t even feel that homesick! With my classes, everything transfers over to my university credit wise, which is a relief when it comes to both sociology and Chinese. I’ll still have to continue to take sociology classes back in the United States, but this program allowed me to complete my Chinese minor. And plus, with sociology, I can take classes that have a bit of Chinese history and culture, something I could only get in China!

Everyone here has been so warm and welcoming, and when I expressed my desire to travel back to my birth city to different people (in both broken Chinese and English), everyone supported me. Even the moments that I have missed someone or needed to talk about something that was bothering me, there was always someone there who understood what I was going through. That’s why Beijing is my perfect match- the combination of people, the culture, and the classes all rolled into one program makes this an unforgettable experience. 

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<p>Hey everyone! I&rsquo;m a junior and I currently attend Trinity University, a small school in San Antonio, Texas. I consider myself a sociologist in training, and I&rsquo;m interested in learning and experiencing new cultures! This blog depicts my experiences in China, specifically Beijing, China&rsquo;s capital city, a long way from home! Hope you enjoy and feel free to comment!</p>

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