Linda Lam ‘09 Beijing, China, Fall 2007 — Studying abroad in Beijing was one of the highlights of my Bates experience. I wanted to go to Beijing to improve my Chinese and to learn about a new culture while living in a different environment. My family and I did not have much financial concerns because we knew it was inexpensive to travel in China, and the study abroad program’s tuition was much cheaper than Bates. Traveling throughout China was very easy because they have accessible bus and train systems that run throughout the country. During my break, I had the opportunity to travel to different provinces in China including Tibet and Xian which was such an amazing experience. The hardest part about studying abroad was actually leaving Beijing because it almost felt like home after living there for four months and making new friends. Everyone should take advantage of studying abroad because it forces you become independent and mature, and also broadens your view on the world.
Donelle Durham ‘09 Shanghai, China, Spring 2008 — Studying abroad as an African-American male in Shanghai, China was definitely a crazy but enjoyable experience. I felt like a celebrity almost everywhere that I went, with many people asking to take a picture with me on a daily basis. Many of the local people explained to me that they had never seen a black person before and were very excited to meet me and learn more about my cultural heritage. My highlight experience abroad was definitely being able to speak Chinese and interact with the people. One night, I had a large crowd of people surrounding me asking me questions about America and my perception of China, all in Chinese. As people walked by and saw an African-American speaking Chinese, the crowd just grew larger and larger. Before I knew it, there were more people then I could count surrounding me. Studying abroad has definitely been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and an opportunity that I would recommend everyone take advantage of.