Studying in Shanghai

大家好! Hi everyone! I’m Lauren Weber and I’m very excited to say I will be spending next spring in Shanghai, China with CIEE’s Business, Culture, and Language program.

I’m a junior originally from the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh, so I’ve grown up with Pitt my whole life. In high school, I originally didn’t want to attend Pitt at all because I thought it was too close to home; however, I fell in love with the campus and program offerings when I toured. After studying here for the past three years, I can definitely say I still feel the same, but am eager to experience a whole new environment.

Academically, I’m majoring in marketing, minoring in Mandarin Chinese, and working toward a certificate in international business. At the moment, I’m also wavering between doubling my marketing major with either human resources or supply chain management. Outside of academics, I am also involved in a few groups on campus. I currently intern with Pitt Athletics, and am an active member of the American Marketing Association, Society of International Business, and Pathfinders. With Pathfinders this past summer, I actually had the opportunity to give a tour to a group of Chinese college students from the exact university I will be studying at next semester!

As I’ve been learning Chinese for the past two years and plan to work there professionally, studying abroad in any other country was out of the question for me. My decision to go abroad with this CIEE program originated because Pitt discontinued their semester-long Global Business Institute program in Shanghai. I was originally disappointed because I believed doing a Pitt-Recognized program would make meeting people and transferring class credits much more complicated; however, I have not found that to be the case with CIEE.

While abroad, I will be taking four classes and doing a part-time internship that will allow me to both finish my Chinese minor, and work further toward my international business certificate. I’ll be able to complete all of the requirements I would have done with a Pitt-Program, but with the excitement of it being a little different that what my friends may do through GBI. After thinking about it a bit, I’m also very glad to be the only Pitt student on the program, as it will force me to branch out and get to know a ton of new people. Participating in a Pitt-Recognized program has definitely been a very happy turn from my original plans so far!

On a more personal note, although I’ve always been interested in other cultures, this will be my first time traveling internationally. I’ll finally get the opportunity to spread my wings away from my hometown. Additionally, I’m excited to become fully immersed in Chinese culture, as well as advance my Chinese language abilities.

Other than working abroad, I’m not fully sure what direction I’d like to take my professional career. I believe my time in Shanghai will help me develop a plan, or at least decision on my double major since it is a major hub of supply chain. Also, interning with a Chinese company will allow me to begin networking with professionals in Shanghai, something that is nearly impossible to do from Pitt’s campus. With business experience in a country critical to America’s economy, I am excited to strengthen my resume, while also meeting new people and having fun.

I won’t be leaving until late February, so the next two and a half months will hopefully go by quickly! Until then, 再见!