Sasha Herbert (BU 2013)
As an intern at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, a Shanghai Government funded think tank, I was immersed in an entirely Chinese work environment that also reflects my academic interests. It has not only given me valuable work experience and significantly improved my Chinese language abilities, but also established lasting relationships and new interests. I felt like I made significant contributions to my office and to international relations by participating in and contributing to important international conferences on development. I have also met prominent figures in Chinese studies that have counseled me on my future endeavors.
The BU-Shanghai program gave me the opportunity to study with exchange students from all over the world and students from all over China at one of the most elite universities. Studying here has broadened my horizons beyond my own country. My Chinese teachers were amazing and I found it very rewarding to study Chinese here rather than in America. I only wish I came sooner so my Chinese would have an even better foundation. There is nothing better than studying Chinese in China amidst Chinese students.
As a part of the BU-Shanghai program, I was able to fulfill one of my biggest dreams of going to China. I had always considered living and working in China, and was able to get an exclusive preview by studying abroad there and being connected to my internship through BU. Living in Shanghai was one of the best experiences I have had yet. It was easy to get by without knowing a lot of Chinese and the exchange rate was also in our favor, which made things even more affordable. I was anxious about throwing myself into a foreign country at first, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought; in fact, it was quite exciting! I only wish that I could stayed there longer!
Nallely Barbosa (BU 2014)
Life in Shanghai
Shanghai is a place unlike any other. It is a place where the past and the present coincide, a place rich in Chinese culture yet equally rich in Western influence, a place where living can be quite a challenge yet be one of the greatest adventures. Though Shanghai was originally a place far outside my comfort zone, it was my home for the past six months, so I learned to appreciate it. Without realizing, it became part of who I am and I know that sooner or later I will return.
Studying in Shanghai
Being taught in Chinese, by Chinese teachers, in China has been one of my most memorable academic experiences. It is something so different to what I am used to but it has improved my language skills significantly. And learning does not stop when classes end. Everyone and every situation in China require that you speak the language to some extent, which encourages students to do some studying on their own. I am really glad that I decided to participate in this program because I know that regardless of what I choose to do in the future, speaking Mandarin will be an advantageous skill to have.
Working in Shanghai
As an Economics and International Relations double major, I truly enjoyed working for the U.S. Commercial Services in Shanghai. This internship allowed me to further learn about U.S. – Sino Relations and grasp a better understanding of the global market. Furthermore, I have always contemplated the idea of working overseas, and now if I choose to do so, I will have the advantage of knowing what to expect. The skills and knowledge that I have gained through this experience are some that no book or internship in the U.S. could have possibly provided.
Jessie Chen (BU 2014)
Growing up in New York City, I used to think “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” And then I came to Shanghai. The crowds, the cars, the shining lights of the Bund; it draws you in and then it tests your sanity. I’ve learned a great deal about myself and about the Chinese society these past few months, experiencing and seeing things I wouldn’t have in NY or Boston. And now that I’ve been tossed and turned by the streets of Shanghai, I’m confident I can survive almost anywhere.
When you tell the Chinese people that you are studying in Fudan University, they will look at you with awe and admiration. I love being part of one of the most prestigious universities in China, walking around their beautiful tree-lined campus and interacting with Chinese students. My Chinese has improved greatly thanks to teachers who truly care about you.
Working at Adsmith, I’ve learned so much about the public relations industry. At Adsmith, I was treated as another one of the co-workers. They respected my opinions and trusted in my competency. I learned about the work environment of China, worked side-by-side with Chinese co-workers, and expanded my skills as a public relations intern. I am proud to be able to have had such a great international experience.
Ester Wan (BU 2013)
At first, the cultural differences were quite stifling and it was difficult adjusting to this new lifestyle; however, I quickly learned to love Shanghai. Shanghai is constantly changing; there is so much beauty in the fact that there is always something new and unexpected here. There is so much diversity and opportunity available at your fingertips. Transportation, especially the subway and taxi’s are convenient and much cheaper than in the States. There are a tremendous number of restaurants serving any type of cuisine you could ever want and the nightlife is amazing, unlike any other. The city of Shanghai truly never sleeps.
In the beginning of the program, I was self-conscious about my Mandarin level; I would try to avoid speaking in class and practicing with others. However, living in Shanghai and being surrounded by environment where it’s crucial for survival, has forced me to open up and utilize my Mandarin in order to get around; not only have I improved my vocabulary, but also my confidence level has increased.
My internship is at the Portman Ritz Carlton in the Catering Conference and Sales Department. Located in the heart of the city on Nanjing Xi Lu, The Portman attracts business and leisure travelers, locales and foreigners alike. I was fortunate enough to be able to have a hand’s-on experience; not only was I able to learn about the Catering Conference and Sales department, but also I felt that I helped contribute to the team. I attended department meetings and catering events and was responsible for various administrative tasks and projects.