Going abroad to China was the beginning of my experience of the wider world. My life needed a change and studying abroad was enough of an experience to change my life. Through the first 6 months of the exchange student program in China, I studied Chinese with other international students at the language institute. After that, I studied business management, which is my major, with Chinese friends. All in all I have studied for a year at the Shandong University.< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
Although China is very close to Korea, the cultures are subtly different. Those cultural differences made me feel more interested in the experience of studying abroad. Let me introduce several things that are not in common with us. First, they rarely drink cold water and they are not fond of air-conditioned breeze, because they think those will cause stomachaches. Second, when men feel hot, they take off their shirts anywhere. Furthermore, some Chinese people often mistake Korean speakers for a minority race of China. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are cheaper and there are various dishes. China is the nation of variety; from people, foods, and languages and so on and so forth
The three most important merits and experiences for an exchange student are:
1. Being away from homeland and living independently overseas.
All my life, I’ve never been separated from my parents for such a long time. Living with others who aren’t my family and doing all the chores such as laundry, cooking, and managing a budget helped me to become more independent. Moreover, it taught me how to stand by myself and how to plan out my own life for a fulfilling life.
2. Inexpensive but meaningful traveling
It has several benefits for being a university student in China. Entrance fees for historical sites could be half-off with a student ID card. Traveling for education could get more advantages since you are there learning their languages and cultures. If you visit the house of a local friend or travel as the locals do, you will learn more including things that you overlooked as a foreigner.
3. Becoming more open-minded and feeling free with diverse cultures and people
There are various people with diverse characters in one country. Encountering those people obviously made my perspective broader. As I became more open-minded, I started to get over small things rather easily, acting more confidently. During the traveling, I felt the freedom I’ve never experienced before while I was in Korea.
If someone asks me about the most meaningful experience that I’ve ever had, I would have to choose going to China as an exchange student. Now, I have friends in more than 10 different countries. I know how to buy products at a more reasonable price. Let alone the fact that we can experience many things that we can’t in Korea, you can do more. If you are not brave enough to do this I would like to say, the more you are afraid of challenging, the more you have to try. Because now is the time that we can learn and feel to the max. It’s much better to do something rather than do nothing because the more you sacrifice, the more you will gain.
Hwang Mi Ra
Dept. of Business Administration