Every semester, tons of our Intern Queen Campus Ambassadors take advantage of the amazing opportunity to study abroad. This Spring, we wanted to share their stories with you! The sixth blog in our #InternQueenAbroad series is from Isabelle Hou, University of Connecticut.
What city and school are you studying in?
I am studying at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
Why did you choose to study abroad there?
I decided to study abroad in China because I already know the language so it's easier for me to communicate here. I also wanted to improve my Chinese writing and reading as well as learn more about the culture. In addition, China is one of the largest trading countries in the world so as a business major, I believe it will be beneficial for me to learn more about business in China.
Have you had to deal with language barriers? What have you done to make it easier?
I haven't had to deal with language barriers as much as most international students because I am already fluent in speaking Mandarin Chinese. However, I do have trouble writing and reading it. So I usually ask my friends who are fluent to help me translate. I am also taking advanced Chinese to improve my reading and writing.
Is the classroom environment different from the United States? How so?
The classroom environment is quite different from the U.S. There are around 30-70 students per class, which is smaller than a lecture class in the U.S. Most of my classes here are 3 hours long and only once a week compared with 50 minutes lectures once week in the States. During class here, there are more discussions among students rather than a lecture style.
How did you budget for your semester and manage your money abroad?
To manage my money, I keep my scholarship money on my bank account and use it only for travels when I have to. I set a price range for when I go out; I usually bring ¥100 cash so I do not over spend. As for my budget on food, I usually make an easy breakfast, and buy something small such as street food for lunch and eat somewhere nice for dinner so I do not over spend on food since there are so many great food places.
How are you balancing school and exploring your country?
Most of my classes are all during the nighttime so I spend the day studying and doing homework. I do not have Friday classes so I spend my long weekend exploring the city with friends.
What are the 5 things you HAD to pack to bring with you?
Besides laptop, phone and toiletries...
• Small cross body bag that is convenient to bring when traveling or running errands
• A backpack that doubles as my carry on bag
• Skincare products since it will be hard to find in different countries
• Rain coat
• Clothes that can be layered since I am here for 3 different seasons
What has been your favorite place/activity so far?
Food. Food. Food. Everywhere you go in Shanghai, there is good food! I love discovering new food places whether it's on the sidewalks, at fancy restaurants, cafes or cheap "hole-in-the-wall" places. You can find food from across the world in Shanghai!
What advice would you give other students considering study abroad?
Do it! It was very hard for me to get used to it when I first arrived here. Almost everything about this school/city is different from what I am used to in the States. I was not so fond of Shanghai in the beginning, but as I started making friends in classes and going out to explore the city, I liked it more and more! Just be yourself and be open-minded. It is definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I guarantee that you will learn so much and have so much fun wherever you go!
Any last words/tips/secrets to share?
1. Purchase plane tickets from an agency, it will be cheaper.
2. Bring an electrical outlet adapter.
3. Do research on the touristy places you want to explore and the prices of items in the country you are going to beforehand so you are prepared once you arrive.