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CIEE: Summer, Accelerated Chinese Language
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Finn Nixdorf

Liberal Arts Major(s): History, International Politics
Hometown: Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

The best part of my study abroad experience was the time I spent practicing my Chinese with local Shanghai residents. Although I could not always understand everyone I talked with, this was a great way to enhance my language skills and get some very helpful practice. It felt great to be able to take what I learned in the classroom and use it in an authentic setting. There were several occasions when I would go to the mall across the street from my campus and attempt to speak with my waiter or some of the Chinese students who were at the arcade after class. I had a lot of fun with this because they all knew that I was just learning, and we would have a lot of laughs when I would mispronounce, get my tones wrong, or just say something that made no sense. In any case, it was a great way to improve my language skills and really feel like I was making progress. Now I plan on using my Chinese more around campus

It felt great to be able to take what I learned in the classroom and use it in an authentic setting

How did this experience impact you academically?

In one summer, I was able to complete 8 credits of Chinese language. This made a huge impact and set me ahead by two whole semesters. I covered over 8 chapters in 8 weeks which greatly accelerated my Chinese degree progress as well as my personal language skills. Covering all of this material in such a short time was challenging but rewarding. Working at such a fast pace taught me a great deal about the important and helpful study techniques. Although I had to make adjustments in order to keep up with the pace of the program, I will be better off in the future because of this program.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

A little while after beginning my Chinese degree, I decided that after college I would relocate to China to perfect my language skills and gain some valuable experience living abroad. This program provided me with a taste of what living in Shanghai will be like. For the most part, this study abroad experience confirmed that desire in me to move to China, and I am eager to return to Shanghai. Additionally, with a second major in International Politics, having the experience of living and studying in China will be a valuable tool to use in my future career goals. I aim to someday work in the U.S. consulate in Shanghai or the embassy in Beijing. Now, I have experience living in China and know that I am capable of adjusting to life outside of the United States.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

The College of the Liberal Arts and the Paterno Fellows Program both played an important role in helping me determine which study abroad experience would be right for me. Speaking with my advisor while keeping the requirements for graduation as a Fellow in mind allowed me to select a program that would give me a great boost in degree progress while still being an enjoyable and memorable summer.

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