“Since being in China, my ideas and paths have shifted”, said Matthew (Matt) Breeze, a second-year Foreign Intern in the English Language Centre (ELC) as well as the current Intern Coordinator. Growing up in the small town of Bemidji, Minnesota in the US, he never imagined that he would end up here in Zhuhai, China. Matt went to college at Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota majoring in Global Culture and Language Studies while minoring in Spanish and Political Science.

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Matt Breeze comes back for a second year

Like most college students, the last year of school is the year of decision making. Nearing the end of his college career Matt was unsure what path to take. He thought about graduate school or going straight into a career. “One day in March, a few months before graduating, my English Professor sent me an email and told me about this internship opportunity in China and thought I might be interested,” said Matt. He continued, “He told me if I applied he would write me a recommendation letter, so I applied and here I am today.”

Deciding to come back for a second year of interning at UIC was an easy decision for Matt. He exclaimed, “I love it out here, I think China is a super fascinating place to be.” He explained that “China is growing and booming and becoming a very important place in the world we live in and I can’t wait to travel more of China and learn and grow in my knowledge and meet more interesting people.”

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Matt (left) and a former intern posing next to the famous Zhuhai Fisher Girl

During his first year in China, Matt travelled around the Guangdong region including Shenzhen, Macao SAR and Hong Kong SAR, plus he ventured to Wuhan and Yunnan. Also, Matt travelled to South Korea, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines.

Matt explains how he has travelled a lot and English has always been easily and readily available. He continues, “One of my favourite and least favourite things all at the same time is the lack of English, although everyday tasks can become difficult, you can really tell you are in a different place which is cool but can be frustrating.”

When Matt is not at work he can be found lifting weights in UIC’s gymnasium or hiking around one of the many places around Zhuhai. Matt really enjoys the outdoors, and back in the US, he likes to fish and hunt.

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Matt showing Kyle Urbeck, a friend from college, around China

Being here a second-year Matt wants to work on his mandarin and hopefully achieve a Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) level 3. “Last year I didn’t get to see much of China, I focused more on travelling outside of China, and this year I hope to focus more on China as it is a fascinating place with a lot to see and do” explained Matt. In addition, he wants to meet more Chinese people this year.

Matt’s favourite part about being an ELC Intern is his interaction with students. “They are young adults, college students and aren’t too much younger than me and it is cool to see people who are in so many ways just like us but yet come from totally different backgrounds,” he continues. “It is interesting seeing, interacting and getting to know them.”

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Matt enjoying a hike at Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan

Another thing that Matt enjoys about being an ELC intern is growing strong relationships with the other faculty members and having someone he views as a mentor. One of his favourite memories from last eat was getting to go west with a teacher he worked with. They were able to go on beautiful hikes, view amazing scenery and eat delicious food.

Matt wants people to know that “Being in China as a foreigner, especially at UIC and as an intern is challenging but it is also great, I love it, China is a cool place to just be,” he says.

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Matt exploring the history in Macao

Exciting, new and different are three words Matt would use to describe his experience so far. After finishing his second year as a foreign intern matt is unsure what the future holds but is looking into graduate school. “Being in China has for sure changed my career path, a year ago I don’t think I would have said that,” he continues. “My ideas and paths have shifted, part of me wants to stay in China but I will most likely go to graduate school for something related to culture, politics and China.”

Reporter: Lauren Richardson (MPRO)
Editors: Samuel Burgess, Deen He (MPRO)
(with thanks to the ELC)