From September 2016 until February 2017, 19 UIC students went abroad as part of the exchange programme, which is organized by the International Development Office (IDO). The following stories are what two UIC students experienced when studying in the United States of America.

 

Liang Mengyuan (Year 3 Accounting student)

My name is Liang Mengyuan, and I’m an Accounting student who studied abroad at Concordia University in Minnesota, USA for one semester. While studying abroad, I found many differences, especially among the people. The people in Minnesota are friendly, for example, almost everyone will say hello to you and say “bless you” when you sneeze. Teachers and students are often very friendly with each other, sometimes having long conversations together, and even playing sports together. Students call professors by their names rather than “Professor”. The weather in Minnesota was very cold, and it began to snow heavily in November.

1

Concordia University had a different grading scheme from UIC, which I had to get used to, as well as the smaller class sizes, with less than 20 students in most of my classes. During class times, students often sit in a circle and they can talk, eat, and even walk around.

2

I like Concordia University’s homework system and online ‘Blackboard’ system, which is similar to UIC’s iSpace. All students need to do homework online, and we can check ‘Blackboard’ for grades, the latest PPTs, as well as teachers’ announcements. I liked almost everything at Concordia University, and I enjoyed being able to speak English with everyone and it helped me improve a lot. I’ll miss all of my new friends and teachers there.

I found it a little difficult to return to UIC because I only had five classes at Concordia University and I felt it was an easier and more relaxed pace of learning in the USA. When I came back to UIC, I felt a lot more academic pressure.

3

I didn’t really experience culture shock, likely because I have been to the USA before so I was familiar with the differences and similarities between it and China. Also, everyone I met in Minnesota was nice to me, so I felt very comfortable, like I was home.

Studying abroad has encouraged me to do a Master’s degree abroad, as well as do more travelling around the world. I will definitely go back to Minnesota and visit my friends some day.

 

Meng Qiaochu (Year 3, Management of Human Resources student)

I went to study abroad at Westfield State University in Massachusetts, USA. Adapting to an English immersive environment was challenging for me, especially since I was the only exchange student from UIC.

At Westfield State University, one of the differences I discovered was that students with the same major are not as closely knit as they might be at UIC. This experience gave me the opportunity to experience both studying and living abroad. I experienced some culture shock when I was abroad, especially when I was having dinner with my international friends, and we discussed our own cultures.

What I liked most about the USA was the kindness of the citizens. I absolutely miss the friends that I made there, including the other international students and my roommates. My own perspective on life has changed thanks to my exposure to a new culture while studying abroad.

 Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He, Samantha Burns (MPRO)

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