Grandin, John [faculty advisor, Department of Languages]
China; Zhejiang; IEP; international exchange program; student exchange; study abroad; University of Rhode Island
In an ever-expanding global society, we must learn to embrace other cultures much different from our own. The University of Rhode Island’s International Engineering Program has opened several opportunities for students to work and live in an environment much different from that in Kingston, the most recent one being at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. The first group was sent to Hangzhou during the summer of 2006 for seven weeks to learn Mandarin and learn about the Far East. The fourteen of us lived in a dorm, studied Mandarin Chinese, visited cultural and historical sites, and took in all that China had to offer. Because we were the first group to go, we made some mistakes, as it was expected. I believe that future travelers to Hangzhou might benefit from stories of our experiences and lessons learned. My project is a get-by, survival guide for students from URI traveling to China. It will give participants an idea of what to expect from everything from food to weather to customs. It has words and phrases, as well as photos and explanations to make the transition from Kingston to Hangzhou smoother. It also has a brief history of China, as well as cultural differences, political and social expectations and ideas, and fun things to try. It is my hope that this guide will help students prepare for an amazing study abroad, or encourage others to apply. It is a wonderful program, with much more than just in-classroom learning. It brings students together from East and West, so that we may learn to communicate, cooperate, and understand each other.