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Week 4: Shanghai

After four great unforgettable weeks, I’m on the plane back to the Bay Area. I can’t believe how fast these past four weeks have gone and I wasn’t ready for it to end at all. Compared to the start of the program I feel that my language skills have definitely improved, especially in speaking and reading.

Looking back, this trip exceeded my expectations. I did not expect to create such close bonds with such amazing people and to have this much fun. Studying Mandarin in China compared to the US is so different because with being in China, it allows you to actually use the language and use it in real world situations while back in the US, you would only use it in the classroom. Back in the US we would mainly just do worksheets and practice activities but being immersed forces you to speak to the locals which can really improve one’s speaking ability. One of the activities that I thought helped was the “into the community” activities. This activity mainly consisted of interviewing the locals which can really help ones speaking skills because this forces you to talk with people in mandarin, which can be super nerve-racking at times. We would have to approach a local, ask them if it was ok if we interviewed them, then interviewed them on topics that were based on what we learned earlier that day. It really surprised me on how many people were ok and agreed to be interviewed because back in the US, a lot of people would be spectacle about it and not feel comfortable being interviewed by a stranger.

One of my favorite CIEE exercises was doing the culture activities because they were super fun and relaxed while at the same time being super learn-full. Some of our cultural activities were cooking classes, visiting museums, playing games, and dancing. It was a nice change from sitting in a classroom all morning. This unforgettable month-long journey has definitely been a journey that’ll last forever.

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-Benjamin L.

'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!

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