China in a Global Context - Shanghai (Study Abroad)
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Brandon Purnell

Major: International Politics
Minor: Security and Risk Analysis
Hometown: Wells Tannery, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned about this enrichment experience from the Penn State Global program search. On their website, you can sort all of their listed programs by various criteria.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Shanghai is probably the definitive global city. As the largest city-proper in the world, there is so much to do and see-- and that's in addition to having the opportunity to study abroad at one of China's best universities. My time with CIEE in Shanghai has been augmented by a gorgeous campus and immediate proximity to everything the city has to offer. I am looking forward to taking trips around China this semester at every chance I get.

"If you want to learn a language, nothing beats immersing yourself in the country where it is spoken..."

How did this experience impact you academically?

If you want to learn a language, nothing beats immersing yourself in the country where it is spoken, coming into contact with it at every point of your day. Beyond this, my Chinese classes last two hours every day. I fully expect to have made huge strides in my Chinese fluency by the time I have finished my semester here. Although I have classes I like better than others, even the classes I don't favor have the added benefit of being taught by faculty often coming from a different culture and perspective.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I've always been interested in a career in public service, and living and working within another culture has helped provide me with the cultural competencies necessary to be considerate and helpful in a diverse society such as the United States. Beyond this, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world, and will be of immense utility to me.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend study abroad to any Liberal Arts student, and certainly this program in particular. A study abroad experience is the best way to pick up or improve upon a foreign language, and in this increasingly globalized world we live in, employers value the cultural competency a study abroad experience provides you with.

For more on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website
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