The Guilfordian

Etsuo’s Corner: Studying Abroad in China

This week, I would like to share junior Chris Collins’ experience in China. Though Japan is very close to China, I have never been to China. So, by interviewing him, I learned interesting facts about the country such as some relating to the culture, people and food, and I got more interested in the country. In addition, he also told me the importance of studying abroad for all students.

“I was born in Nepal and I had lived in the country for 10 years. Then, I moved to Thailand and lived there for 10 years. I’ve spent most of my life in Asian countries and I have visited China several times, so I was interested in studying Chinese.

When I came to Guilford, I decided to study in China. But there was a problem. Guilford does not have a Chinese course even though China now has a big influence in the world and is the most populated country in the world. Studying Chinese is important, but it was a pity that Guilford does not have a Chinese program. That’s why I had to wait to study Chinese until I went to China.

There are several things that I was impressed with while I was in China. First, Chinese people really love ‘WeChat,’ an app which has many functions similar to Google, Facebook, Uber and food delivery services. I did not know that application, though I had visited China several times. It was surprising to me.

Chinese people were also very welcoming. The class I attended for the studying abroad program was more like a big family. Students in the class took care of each other and the teacher invited students for dinner, which impressed me, and I really liked the community.

I really liked Chinese food. I felt Chinese food was more creative than American food. For example, when people buy a chicken in the U.S., they only buy parts such as thigh or wing. On the other hand, when people buy a chicken in China, they buy the whole chicken and use all of it. That is why I felt Chinese people seemed more creative with their food.

There were also several difficulties I experienced in China. Although … I had basic knowledge of Chinese, it was difficult to explain complicated topics or difficult issues such as politics. But people were very forgiving and understood me, which was helpful.

In China, we could not use internet such us Google and Facebook. We could use internet by using VPN, but it was slow. It was surprising was that we could use Chinese internet sites, and everything was for free because the copyright was not strict.

One more thing I found difficult was that people always were with others. Sometimes I wanted to be alone and relax, but many people talked to me when I rode a bus or (was) on campus. This was very different from the U.S.

After finishing studying abroad, I think everyone should go study abroad. You can experience totally different cultures and people, which will change your perspective. Even if the experience will not be fun for you, it will be an important experience.

You will also experience feeling like a representative of your country because many people will ask you about your country. They were curious about the U.S. and think this country is a rich and powerful country. Speaking and living with people from a culture with a different worldview can help you understand their perspectives and give you a new understanding about the world.

These experiences are really important, so you should go abroad even if it will only be for a few days.”

It was interesting to listen to his story because I learned things about China such as the culture’s food and hospitality.

I also agree with his opinion that when studying abroad, you might feel like a representative of your country. In the U.S., I am asked a lot about Japan like I am a representative of Japan. This has let me see my country with a different perspective, which has been very important for my life. So I also think if you have the chance, you should definitely study abroad.

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