Hi there everyone,
My name is Sean Laufer and I am currently a sophomore here at the University of Pittsburgh double majoring in Finance and Chinese with a minor in Economics and a certificate in Asian Studies. Why Chinese? Ever since I was a little kid, I watched my dad travel all around the world for his job. One particular place that caught my attention he traveled to was China. When I was seven years old, I asked my mother why he was always gone for so long. She would explain to me that China was very far away from home and it does not make sense to plan a business trip to China for a few days since it’s such a great distance away. That is when I began to have a weird interest for China and as I grew older that interest also continued to grow. In the seventh grade, I decided that I wanted to try to learn Chinese and that is when it all started. So, what do I want to do with Chinese? After I graduate college, I hope to become some type of international businessman that can speak Mandarin fluently with balanced global economic perspective of the world and apply it to my future career in finance. I am not exactly sure what industry I want to go into finance yet, but I know that I want to work for a firm at the international level.
Besides academics and career goals, a little background about myself, I am originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I was born and raised there my whole life until I started to attend Pitt. Why did I decide to come to Pitt and not stay in the wonderful weather in Florida? A similar reason why I wanted to study abroad in Harbin this summer, I wanted something different. Pittsburgh may not have t-shirt weather year round, but it does have all four seasons. I also love the colder weather and my favorite sport is snow skiing. If I could ski every weekend out of the year, I would. In terms of family, I have both my parents and a younger sister who is a senior in high school and she will be starting her college career at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida this upcoming fall.
So now you know a little about me, why did I decide to go to China with CET to Harbin and not Shanghai or Beijing? Well, I actually have already been to Shanghai and Beijing, and I am very fortunate for already traveled there. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted something different. Harbin is usually not the “go to” for people studying abroad in China and Harbin has something both Beijing and Shanghai do not have. An intensive Chinese language immersion environment. Beijing and Shanghai, do not get me wrong, they are both fabulous places to study abroad in China, but it is very easy to get away with speaking English there and then it takes some of the immersive experience away. In Harbin, no one speaks English, you are forced to utilize Mandarin. In addition to being immersed, this will help me better understand Chinese culture as well.
Unfortunately, I still have quite some time before I leave for Harbin, June 11th, but I am still very much looking forward and excited to studying abroad!
I will keep you all posted!