Aaron Lefkow

Before arriving [in China], I had taken two semesters of Chinese at the University of Minnesota. I was very nervous about not being able to communicate my ideas clearly because of the CET language pledge. This language pledge pertains not only to the classroom but also even when you are alone. However, after the first week of classes, my level of confidence was higher than it had ever been before. Having classes for around four hours a day and being able to speak one on one with a teacher for twenty-five minutes gave me the confidence and ability to utilize my Chinese to freely express myself.

In my two months in Beijing, I went through a little bit over two textbooks. I learned about 989 new vocabulary words and a huge amount of new grammar. Before coming to China I was only able to express myself with basic sentences and grammar structures. After coming to China I can discuss complex topics such as protecting the environment vs. advancing the economy, China's national college entrance examination, protecting Chinese culture and traditions, and a variety of other interesting topics.

Spending my summer studying in China has completely changed how I think about my world. My way of thinking is much broader and I am able to think from the Chinese perspective rather than just my own. I hope to be able to use this experience to be able to better communicate and understand Chinese culture, business, ways of thinking, and everyday life in general. My study abroad in China has been a once in a lifetime experience that far exceeded my expectations.