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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Isaac in China

Isaac Ordonez ’19 is a Neuroscience major who has been studying at Peking University in Beijing, China

Studying in China was been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a freshman in high school when I took my first Chinese class. Now a senior in college. I was finally able to spend my fall semester in Beijing at Peking University China Studies Institute. I participated in the Immersion class, in which I lived off-campus in an apartment in Wudaokou with 5 other students, and all my classes were in Chinese. In addition to this, I signed a pledge in which I would only speak Chinese Monday through Friday. The experience was nothing short of unforgettable, even though the beginning was very difficult. I had never met any of my roommates before, and had to communicate in a language I was not that comfortable with. By the end, I feel like I have made more progress this semester than I have in the 3 years I have been taking traditional Chinese language classes. I did not expect to get along so well with my roommates, and we become very close over the course of taking classes and living together. My teachers were also incredible, as their approach to teaching Chinese made sure I was practicing everyday. I distinctly remember on one of my last weeks at Beijing, I went out to do some shopping and to get a haircut, and the entire time was talking in Chinese and held a long conversation with my barber without realizing it. Speaking the language felt more natural than ever, and was more than I could’ve asked for. In addition to classes, CSI took us on many trips around China, and we were lucky enough to even go to Tibet. I became very close to my Chinese teachers, and learned much from them in terms of culture and how to get around in Beijing. I am grateful to them and all the other teachers at CSI who made my experience so enjoyable, as well as the help provided by Ingrid H. and George L. Speros Scholarship for Study Abroad in making the trip possible.