Alice MINGAY FS2016-17, The University of Oxford | to China
This year, I have been studying a variety of courses at Peking University to help me to improve my Chinese, ranging from translation to oral to classical Chinese. They have been both interesting and challenging, teaching me a lot both about the relevant topic and about Chinese culture and society more generally. Beyond class, I have also tried my hand at calligraphy for the first time, and was regular member of the karate society, even taking an exam to move up a belt! I also took my chances to travel this year, including to Xi’an, climbing several of the sacred mountains, and celebrating Chinese New Year with my Chinese friend’s family in Hunan this last one in particular will stay with me as one of the highlights of the year. Finally, as I hope to live and work again in China in the future, I sought out three different work experience opportunities to try to understand the different styles of companies and work, as well as starting to figure out what I might want to do.
This immersion, both from studying at Beida and more generally living in Beijing, has been an opportunity to improve my Chinese such that I just could not do in the UK, and as thus has been immensely helpful to my studies. Beyond this, to be able to build on the understanding I had begun to have from my studies and reading, the friends I have made – in particular Chinese, Korean and Mexican – and experiences I have had has forced me to understand a mind-set that is often very difficult to my own, and deal with a range of situations that took me out of my comfort zone. I hope this has made me into a more open-minded and independent person, as well as building a bank of experiences I can draw on in the future. For several years now, I have known that I wanted to spend a significant amount of time in China, and as such I am so pleased to have been able to do this as a part of my studies.
Many thanks to the Victor and William Fung Foundation for the financial support towards my studies in China, and for their continued work in this area. Intercultural understanding, friendships and language proficiency are perhaps more important now than ever, and so it is fantastic that they provide such valuable support to students with a strong interest in this fascinating country, and prevent additional costs from acting as a barrier.