Arrived in China!

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大家好!I’m finally in China!! While everyone at home was planning out their spring break, I was excitedly attending all my orientation and meeting all my new classmates. After having such a long winter break, I’m ready for the semester to start!

I will be spending this spring at East China Normal University in the Putuo district of Shanghai. The school is well-known for it’s beautiful campus. There are gardens everywhere, with a long river I’ll be walking alongside every day to get to class, which is probably my favorite part of my new routine. It’s still winter in Shanghai, so I’m looking forward to seeing everything bloom in the spring.

After spending over two months doing zero school work, getting back into the swing of things might be a struggle. To avoid that, I’ve set a few goals for myself academically, professionally, and personally.

Academically speaking, my goal is to stay up to date on all my work. My schedule is unlike anyone else’s on my program because I’m not taking a daily Chinese class every morning (like everyone else), so I have a lot more classes. Staying on top of my tasks will be crucial for my to have any free time. I definitely would like to spend my weekends traveling, so I need to get things done on time. To accomplish this, I plan to finish my homework the night it is assigned, or to make sure all my responsibilities for the next week are finished by Thursday night.

Professionally, my main goals are to better understand how business is conducted in China, as well as to gain some international, professional contacts. To work toward these goals, I will be interning with a small social media start-up, MeetUGo. I’ll be predominantly working on marketing and event-planning for the company, using China’s biggest (and kind of only) social media app, WeChat. The events are aimed at expats, which will definitely help with my networking goal. Both observing professional behavior and actively participating will be an invaluable real-world experience.

Personally, I’ve set three goals. The first is to improve my Chinese language skills, despite not taking a language class. My Chinese roommate will be a big factor in reaching this goal. We’ve already worked out a system where I only speak to her in Chinese and she only responds in English. It’s helping us both learn a lot! Second, I want to try as many new foods as possible. I’ve always been a bit of a picky eater, so forcing myself out of my comfort zone will be an interesting experience. So far, ordering unknown foods at restaurants because I can’t read the menu has been a great way of accomplishing this goal. Other than that, I’ll actively seek out unique foods I haven’t eaten before. Lastly, I’d like to travel as much as possible. Being organized with planning will be the best method to accomplish this goal.

With all the new experiences and changes, I can’t wait to see where the semester will take me!