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I am finishing up a semester-long exchange program at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University in Beijing, CHINA. There are over 100 other students here from around the globe. PKU hosted many events to bring exchange students together through activities, social gatherings, networking events and holiday celebrations. Each exchange student also has a “PKU buddy” to teach us Chinese customs and help us sort out any problems. My PKU buddy and I have had many fun times eating dinner together and going out with other friends to KTV (karaoke).

The classes I’m taking at Guanghua are taught in English, though I’m also practicing Chinese (which I began to study at UGA in advance). I’m learning about doing business in China through case studies, projects, and discussions with the professor. I enjoy listening to the other international student perspectives on culture and values. Our classes include some Chinese students as well, and it is always interesting to hear their opinion on “the West.”

Before classes started at Guanghua, I was in Beijing for two months doing a “home stay.” I lived with a local Chinese family and tutored their ten year old daughter in English. This gave me ample opportunity to be immersed in the Mandarin language and family culture. I was lucky that the parents worked in the Beijing financial district and could speak English fairly well. We discussed many important business issues that concern China’s connection with the rest of the world. This was invaluable insight.

I have also traveled to places outside of Beijing in my free time here. I’ve gone to Beidahe Beach and Shanghai. Other exchange students have travelled as far as Hong Kong and Japan!

Peking University is the top school in China and is ranked 46th in the world by US News. I feel very fortunate to have the chance to study and interact with some of China’s brightest students! I have learned more about the Chinese in one semester here than I could ever have learned from books.