College can be such a stress during the academic year that most individuals don't do much over the summer. Although, I am one of those individuals who tries to do as much as possible in a given period of time. Summer is actually one of the best times to get anything you personally want done or maybe even what your parents want you to do, so what I decided to do this summer is go overseas on a study abroad program. My destination was Beijing, China and the program was held through the School of Public & Environmental Affairs and hosted by Peking University in Beijing. The ultimate goal of this study abroad program was to give a detailed look into the rise of China through the eyes of those who know it best: scholarly educators and local individuals. We all knew that we would learn a lot prior to going on the trip, yet we didn't know how much this would entail. So, our collective first step was to book a flight to Beijing, China individually and then fly internationally for 13 hours to our final destination in order to begin our journey and experience of Beijing with fierce determination.
Here are some brief recaps of a few of the program days:
Overall, I will remember my study abroad experience as a time of recreating myself as an individual. My beliefs, ideas, and assumptions were challenged throughout the entire study abroad program thus I had to improvise sometimes. Also, I was able to impart some knowledge, experiences, and morals onto those individuals I came in contact with through the study abroad program to while being in Beijing, China. Finally, here is what I will take away from going on the SPEA in Beijing 2013 study abroad program and apply to my future life.
The Overall Beijing Study Abroad experience (post-trip):
I found out that a lot of my suspicions about Beijing, China were true, but a few items were not. These items included: huge monetary gap among the socioeconomic classes, culturally homogenous in that a single ethnic group dominates Beijing class society, most individuals observed seem very financially insecure, and the environment was much worse than I thought originally.
I managed to learn a lot about the Chinese modernization in the past fifty years, practice my Mandarin speaking skills, learn more about Chinese culture, develop a deeper knowledge base about Chinese politics, network with other study abroad students, enhance my communication abilities on the trip, be a leader for a day during the program, explore lots of places in Beijing, and document every single day’s happenings throughout the trip.
I will now leave you all with a famous picture of the CCTV tower in Beijing, China. Enjoy!