Being Asian

Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai
"I was always a black sheep as a kid growing up with white parents in Oklahoma. Sometimes I wished I was white or back in Korea where I'd fit in. I was called "that Chinese girl" more times than I can count. Then I ended up studying abroad in China (The irony, right?)—but this was the first time I didn't feel like I stood out. Chinese people even told me that I looked Chinese, so I guess I should give the folks back home a break. But as much as I didn't stand out in China, I still didn't "fit in" because I'm not from China. I realized how American I truly am, and I'm proud of it. I'm proud to be unique and proud of my Oklahoma upbringing. I think accepting the parts of who we are that can't change and continuing to develop from there is a crucial aspect of life."

So Much to Offer

This has been an incredible experience and I wish the best for all future scholars who plan on studying abroad!

Being a Foreigner in China

"So a guy came up to me in a bar, hitting on me and I wasn't interested and he was Chinese. I thought the easiest thing to say was I have a boyfriend. So I said 'Wo yao nan peng you (我要男朋友)' with such conviction and I was like, this is right. Then he looked at me and suddenly got more keen and I was like what's gone wrong? I realized I was saying 'Wo yao' which means 'I want' (我有) as opposed to 'wo you' which means 'I have' a boyfriend. So he was really keen cause he thought I was saying I want a boyfriend"

As a Caucasian individual in China, she often encountered groups of Chinese people asking to take pictures with her because she looked so foreign. I later heard similar stories from my other international friends who also experienced it.

From Cali to Shanghai

"Like many other language students, I had the intentions of learning Mandarin in China for work-related purposes. Growing up in a fairly traditional Chinese household and predominantly Chinese community in San Francisco, I did not anticipate on being too culture shocked when first arriving in China. But was I still bothered by the rush of people pushing and shoving to get on and off the subway? Grossed out by the smell of stinky tofu being sold along the streets? Cringe at the sight of people spitting on the streets? Absolutely. Despite this, after four-five months of immersing myself into the Chinese culture and meeting local Chinese university students, I was able to better understand the Chinese history and lifestyle. Now, wherever I encounter an individual of Chinese descent, I have a different perspective of him or her than I did before."

Persistence is Key

Backstory: He is a French-Chinese man who decided to study abroad post undergrad where he met his current Japanese girlfriend at Fudan University. He plans to eventually work for her father's company in Japan.

"So it was 2014, it was the first time I came to China, I came late to the classroom. It was in October and I was very late. It was "C-ban" (C-ban means C class in Chinese, indicating your proficiency, the higher the better) and I was a little higher, but I stayed in this class cause she was in this class. I didn't know her. At first, I thought she was cute and I liked her smile. After a while, we started to have a conversation. One time I asked her on a date and she came with someone else - another girl. Six months after, we went to Huangshan together on a trip. We became really close friends and I was carrying her down the mountain in Huangshan. When we went up to the summit she was fine, but when we went down she was tired and I was helping her go d…

Class Break with A little Bit of SNAP

"Studying in China, inside a culture so different from mine, has equally been challenging and exciting. Since my first moments here, every single day has been a new experience and learning. I said goodbye to my daily routine because, in China, I feel like I'm always on a new adventure, with both great experiences and challenges to overcome. I understood that being willing to learn, patient and having a good sense of humor, ensured me great times and memories that have definitely changed my perspective. In such a changing and exciting environment, I'll look forward to coming back and having more experiences like this one."

Where Magic Happens

Her: "I get asked one of two things when I meet locals here. The first is why would you ever choose to move from New Zealand to China?  And it's true, I left my best friends and beautiful backyard in exchange for a place where individual fruit comes bubble wrapped and cheese is like gold (two examples that very much grind my gears). The second is more of a puzzled look, followed by, but for a foreigner, your face looks very Chinese...? An open-ended question/statement I never quite know how to best respond, which makes me confused because for such a global city, in some ways they are still very much stuck in a bubble of the past.  I could have happily lived my comfortable life in NZ for probably forever. But the truth is Shanghai is like an emotional, cultural, financial, dream of a rollercoaster, one where dreams can evolve and collapse within a second, and for now, that really excites me. "