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School in China!

I am studying abroad through The Beijing Center (TBC). TBC is housed on the campus of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE). According to local Chinese students, UIBE is ranked about 4 or 5 of the top 10 Universities in China. The university provides schooling for about 20,000 students, not including undergraduate and PhD students. This was a massive change for me, seeing that Fairfield only has 5,000 undergraduates. Although larger in student population, the campus is smaller. It is very different attending a university in the city opposed to Fairfield’s suburban setting. I love seeing the masses of people going to and coming from class, lunch, or the on campus gymnasium. The new faces are refreshing and of course always friendly.

Moon Festival Celebration (中秋节 zhong qiu jie)

As an international student at UIBE, I live in the international student dorm with my Chinese roommate, Sue. Her Chinese name is 杨殊。She is fluent in English, but I try to speak as much Chinese with her as I can. I chose a Chinese roommate to improve my Chinese language skills and to be further immersed in Chinese culture. Sue helps me out a lot when it comes to navigating the huge city, language barriers, and secret student know-how. Due to the large amount if international students that attend UIBE, there is even an International Student Union, as well as many other clubs and sports teams for students to join. I even joined my University’s cheerleading team! I couldn’t stay away…In addition to the many dorms on campus, UIBE also has three dining halls, a supermarket, fruit stands, a cell phone accessory shop, a China Unicom (mobile carrier) store, a milk tea shop, a chicken spot, a self-service package drop off, four ATMS, three cafes, and of course various different academic buildings. Despite having three dining halls and a number of different takeout shops on campus, most students go off campus to restaurants for meals. Sounds crazy; however, in China going out to a restaurant doesn’t carry the same weight that it does in America. People don’t need to get dressed up, wait for a special occasion, or spend a ton of money. Most restaurants are incredibly cheap (meaning I can get an over-filling meal for less than two USD) and are used to the crowds of students who literally walk across the street to eat. Surrounding UIBE are over 60 restaurants just waiting to be tried. I usually have meals both on and off campus depending on time and what I’m craving.

Traditional Lanzhou Beef Noodles (兰州拉米嗯 )

Classes have also started in Beijing! I’ve been going to class for about two weeks now, and my schedule is really interesting this semester. I am taking five course for a total of 18 credit hours. These include: Introduction to Buddhism, Intensive Intermediate Chinese I & II, Traditional Chinese Philosophy, and Chinese State and Society. Each course is the equivalent to a Fairfield turbo; once a week for 2.5 hours. My Chinese language course however is 3 hours per day, four times a week for a total of 12 hours a week. Sounds like a ton but when you love Chinese as much as I do, 12 hours doesn’t even feel like enough. Classes are mostly lecture style, another cultural difference from the U.S, and TBC professors are a mix of both Chinese and American scholars. My courses are taught in English, and are reading and writing intensive, very similar to Fairfield courses. My fifth course is an internship course. I have an Internship at Beijingkids Magazine; a well-known magazine in Beijing which is targeted to the masses of expatriates in Beijing who have made a new life in China. I currently serve as the Web Editor, committing about 15 hours a week to in office work. I take the articles and blogs from the physical magazine and recreate them on the beijingkids website. ( I also write blogs which are published online! Check out a recent post of mine which promotes my companies annual Pizza Fest. A march madness like competition in design, in which various Pizzeria’s in Beijing compete to determine who will be crowned tastiest pizza in Beijing.

Also published on Fairfield Study Abroad’s blog:

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