Jorge Rostro ’11 – It has been about five weeks now since I have arrived at Aberdeen. At first, life was dark and cold and the sun hardly came out. Now, the sun shines more and it seems to be getting warmer. I have met numerous people from across Europe, not to mention my flat mates which are from Sweden, England, Scotland, and Lithuania.
Life at Aberdeen is very laid back. In comparison to Wabash, I seem to have a lot of free time. There is hardly any homework or reading assignments and absolutely no tests, except the final exam. This has given me the opportunity to immerse my self in the Scottish culture.
During these five weeks, I have explored the city center. It is absolutely beautiful, although at first I could not enjoy it as much because it was cold. I have been to the local museums. There I have seen great Victorian paintings and other contemporary forms of art. One thing that stands out from Aberdeen is the friendly people and the granite buildings of which give the city a nice feel. I also take nice jogs at Seaton Park. The park is absolutely beautiful and it has a nice river that runs through it.
Last week, I decided to travel to London and Paris to explore my surroundings. In London, I visited Notre Dame Cathedral, the city center, and went out to have a taste of London’s night life. In Paris, I visited the Eiffel Tower and the Catacombs. The Catacombs is an underground place where the French stored dead bodies. Luckily for me, I knew enough French to at least find my way around. This came in handy when I was lost trying to find the train station.
Life abroad has been so great and fascinating. I’ve learned so much about how other people think with respect to life. I have seen how most people take life at a much slower pace. In two weeks, I will have my three week Spring Break! During those three weeks, I will be backpacking through Europe. I want to definitely visit, Rome, Amsterdam, Venice, Bologna, Barcelona, and Greece. Hopefully I will be able to see more than these places. I will definitely keep you all posted about the adventures I have through Europe.
For over two weeks now I’ve been a 留学生 (abroad student) at Fudan University in Shanghai. Since the academic experience is the most important part of my time here, I feel that I tell you a little bit more about my studies at Fudan.
I will be able to bring five credits from Shanghai. Two credits will come from my Chinese studies. My Chinese class meets for two hours and fifteen minutes four times per week. Our groups are small (only IES students) and we really learn a lot. During every class the teacher makes sure that everybody participates. Moreover, for every class we have to learn to write 15-20 new characters. Our newly-acquired knowledge is always tested with a dictation at the beginning of the class. The remaining three credits come from classes tough in English that I’m able to take at Fudan with my international colleagues as well as Chinese Fudan students. I’m really impressed with the Fudan faculty who teach these courses. They are true experts in their fields (it’s a top university in China after all) and have many accomplishments recognized on the international level.
One of my courses is titled The Chinese Metropolis: Shanghai in Comparative Context. Thanks to this class, I can understand and appreciate Shanghai a lot more. I’m also looking forward to comparing and contrasting Shanghai with Honk Kong, since this class will be an important part of our IES week-long trip to the latter in April. The second class I take in English is The Political Economy of China. The name pretty much speaks for itself. As a comparative politics political science major at Wabash, I really like it simply because both the political and economic reality of China is so much different from other countries in the world. Religion in Contemporary Chinese Society is the third class I take in English at Fudan. In this course I hope to learn a lot about both the historical place of religion in the complex Chinese society and the issue of religion in the PRC.
When I’m not in the classroom or rushing to the Becton Dickinson Shanghai office, you would often be able to find me enjoying the beautiful and very modern Fudan campus. I hang out with my Chinese classmates making a genuine effort to only speak Mandarin :-). Good thing it’s only March and I have three more months to enjoy this magical place.
P.S. As I’ve been registering for the fall classes this week, I’ve noticed that Mandarin will finally become a part of the Wabash curriculum. I’m really excited about it and believe that this is an important step forward for the college.