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Name: Sina Feng
Majors: International Business/Marketing
Program: CIEE Intensive Language
Location: Beijing, China
When: Fall 2007 – Spring 2008
Favorite Course: Speaking (Kouyu)
Highlight: Opportunity to meet life long friends from all over the world
Best Excursion: Zhengzhou, China
Favorite Dish: Deep fried lemon chicken
Describe your most memorable experience while abroad.
Climbing the Great Wall! The day before the climb I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to make it through the climb. Let’s face it; Philly doesn’t have that many mountains (or things of that nature) for me to climb! But I ended up having such a great time that I didn’t even notice the physicality of the climb. Perhaps I was trying to focus on where my next step would be so I don’t fall off the wall! But the effort was well worth the view from the top. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! You could see mountains beyond mountains and the Great Wall would just stretch for miles and miles. It was really amazing and definitely an unforgettable experience.
How has this experience changed you?
It opened up my world to a whole new realm of possibilities. I always knew there were foreigners in Beijing, but I was totally taken back but the numbers that were there. I never knew I was actually going to be in a class with students from all over the world. So I had the opportunity to learn about different cultures and traditions from everywhere! It was so interesting to see everyone from different places, but brought together for the same purpose. I’m also stronger and more experienced as a person. The fear that I once had when traveling to a foreign country will no longer be an obstacle for me. Also, I’ve learned to just have an open-mind wherever I go and be prepared for anything!
Describe your best travel experience.
It was definitely when I went to Seoul, South Korea. It was just my friend and I. Neither of us spoke the language, but we managed our way around, traveled to different cities, and even found a way to take a boat to an island off the coast of South Korea. I just thought it was an amazing experience to be able to travel and get to our destinations without knowing a single word of Korean. I had a really good time and just being able to see outside of Seoul. The scenic views were absolutely breath taking! The success of the trip just gives you a good sense of pride and accomplishment.
How was the experience of studying the language in the classroom prior to studying abroad different from the experience of studying the language in and outside of the classroom once you were abroad?
It was completely different. Obviously, being in the country of the language you are learning is much more effective. I was in a classroom with classmates from all over the world – Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Holland, America, Malaysia etc. The class was completely in Chinese; we only were allowed to speak Chinese. Since most of my classmates were foreign, their study habits differ from my own. I actually prepared for the next day’s lesson, studied a lot, and actually paid attention in class. Not to say I’m a bad student here at Temple, but I definitely never tried as hard as I did for any classes, except when I was in Beijing. It was interesting to see that many of my fellow Americans agreed with that statement. I really feel this is the most effective way of learning a language. My listening, speaking, and comprehension improved incredibly during my stay in Beijing.