Mariya Taberk

During my time in Beijing, I studied at CET Academic Programs’ Intensive Language Study. The main purpose of my going to China was to improve my Chinese skills by immersing myself into a Chinese-only environment; however, my semester abroad ended up being so much more than that. Granted I am still far from being fluent in Chinese, my comprehension of the language and my confidence in speaking has increased exponentially.

Because of the language pledge that my program strictly enforced, I was not allowed to speak English for the duration of my studies. Though this was one of the most challenging aspects of my study abroad experience, it was also the most beneficial. By forcing myself to not speak any English, I was able to break out of the foreigner bubble that many study abroad students experience, and truly gain confidence in speaking Chinese.

CET also planned overnight trips for students to places like the Great Wall and Yinchuan. CET also gave us opportunities for independent travel, such as during spring break, when I was able to visit Nanjing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai with a group of friends.

This study abroad trip did more for me than just improve my Chinese skills. I am also grateful to be able to foster actual friendships with people that I may never have met had I not lived in Beijing, especially those whose English is perhaps not very strong. Looking back, I firmly believe that spending a semester in China was the best decision of my college experience thus far, and I would not exchange that time for anything.