Students Look Back on Study Abroad Experiences

ON2018-03-24TAG: ShanghaiTech UniversityCATEGORY: Features

A famous line from a novel by Henry Miller reads, “One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” For ShanghaiTech students who have returned from study abroad, it seems that their time abroad has been both an academic and personal journey.

Half of ShanghaiTech students will have the opportunity to study abroad before graduation, in a summer school program or a semester or year-long exchange. Whether they’re catching rays while studying outside on the UC Berkeley green or painting Venetian masks at Padova, ShanghaiTech students find the cultural and academic opportunities provided by their experiences abroad can be life changing.  

For Li Yike, a junior in the School of Information Science and Technology, who studied a summer session at UC-Berkeley, being in different environment really influenced her. “People’s attitude to strangers and newcomers moved me. Actually, my spoken English is not really good and sometimes I may stutter. But people there were really patient and considerate and always waited for me to finish my words, which made me feel grateful,” she says. “After that, I have become more patient and friendly to others.”

Coming back to China and ShanghaiTech involved another adjustment for Yike, but at least one part was easy for her. “I can eat the delicious Chinese food again which gives me a relief,” she laughs. But her short experience abroad left her wanting a taste of more study abroad. “I have a clearer goal of my future and academic career,” she says, “because most students I met there are not native English-speaking students, but they want to study abroad for their master’s or PhD in the future, which I think is a nice choice.”

Li says she’s got her sights set on further study abroad. “The education system in the US is quite different from China. It was a good to experience both of them. After this short experience, I would like to stay longer next time for study.”

Following are impressions of study abroad from other ShanghaiTech students:

The environment at ShanghaiTech is quite similar to UCB. The bilingual classes at ShanghaiTech helped us step into the UCB class very quickly. When hanging out in the bookstore, I found many textbooks that I’d used at ShanghaiTech, like inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry, which proved to me that ShanghaiTech is consistent with top undergraduate education around the world.

Fang Xue, School of Physical Science and Technology

The most unforgettable moment of this trip was the opera at Verona. It was such great honor to have the opportunity to attend the opera, together with Professor Ernesto Carafoli, President Jiang and other respected fellows from University of Padova and ShanghaiTech. The opera Turandot, one of Puccini’s greatest masterpieces, was an epic fairy tale set in China. It was performed at Arena di Verona, with very romantic streets and the surrounding buildings where “Romeo and Juliet” took place.

Hu Haimin, School of Information Science and Technology

Italians take their food very seriously. Italian Pizza is much thinner than American, so one person can order a large round one and finish it completely! Never say Pizza Hut or Papa John’s or you will have eggs thrown at you, for Italians don’t regard them as pizza! I enjoyed several types of pizza and became addicted! We learned to make an Italian pizza on our own. It will be hard for me to forget that day.

Hong Ruyue, School of Information Science and Technology

I tried to talk with every foreign student in the class and listen to their stories. There were students from South Korea, Belgium, Greece, Russia, Italy and North America. When arranging the following classes, our professor would divide us into different nationalities and arrange us so that each table was multi-cultural. Conflict means change and difference, and we easily understood this concept because we found that students from different areas had extremely different opinions.

Fang Xue, School of Physical Science and Technology

Although what I came to Berkeley to learn was not related to my own major, this experience really impressed me. No doubt, the most important part has been study. The course I took was a liberal arts course and I really enjoyed it. The teacher worked to promote exchange between the students, and tried to get us to think deeply, communicate and discuss. Improving your abilities is not only about gaining knowledge, it’s also learning to face our troubles, adapt to new environments and deal with different situations.

Lin Ziheng, School of Physical Science and Technology