Kevin Bond ’13, a Chinese Studies major, immersed himself in the culture and language of his study by going abroad to Beijing, China (CET) in the fall of 2011. This transported him to a world in which he broadened his understanding of what he learned in class.
He noted: “Here at Gettysburg I have studied Chinese language, independent film and some history, but none of these would fully be able to prepare for me for all that studying abroad had to offer. In Beijing, I was not only able practice my language skills every day, I was also able to go to a film screening for an independent film in an underground theater, learn about the Chinese political structure, analyze how the events of the past century have affected modern China, and see for my own eyes the culture and country I had been studying for two years. It brought an actual tangible element to my studies that would have been difficult if not impossible to attain if I had elected not to go to the middle kingdom myself. China is a rapidly evolving country, one caught between the modern world and the old one, and no matter how many movies one watches describing China's current position between these two realms, how many articles one reads, one cannot truly gain an understanding of it until they have been there.”
One of Kevin’s learning experiences included interactions with his Chinese roommate. Friends and roommates gained abroad often become an instrumental part of the memories made. Kevin offered a fond anecdote about one of his first encounters with his roommate:
“Before I left for China, CET had told me that it would be a good idea to get a present for my roommate, so I got him a couple of books in English (only to find out later, much to my embarrassment, that his English was not as good as I thought it would be). In return, he had brought be a scroll painting from his village in southern China. I brought that back with me and now it hangs on the door to my room. Its a very unique style and the only color on it is blue, but it still reminds me of my time spent with him and in the city, and it gives me motivation to further my studies so that I can return to see the area that produced such a unique piece of art.”
Studying in China not only enhanced his Gettysburg education, but also triggered a change in Kevin’s future career plans, as well.
“I always knew that I would enjoy going abroad, but not that I would enjoy it as much as I did. Before, I wanted to get a job in the US where I could translate or advise someone one China-related issued. Now, I want to get back to China, go to grad school, and eventually teach at the college level. It could be said that going to China changed my entire plan for the future. All of this came simply from tutoring Chinese in English and helping my friends with their studies, as well as the inspiration I received from the director of academics with the program.”
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