Hi everyone – thought it would be appropriate to introduce myself first… I’m Eric Beeler, a junior at the George Washington University studying International Affairs and Chinese. Over the next 10 months, I’ll be studying abroad in Beijing, China and London, England attempting to enhance my language skills, explore foreign cultures, and make as many new friends as possible. While those are my two official destinations, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to explore throughout Southeast Asia and Europe during my breaks.
Before going to far into some quick pre-departure thoughts, it’s important to thank a few supporters for this opportunity to go abroad: the Fund for Education Abroad, the Gilman Scholarship, the Point Foundation, the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, and the GW Office for Study Abroad scholarships. I wouldn’t have this opportunity without the generous support from these donors.
On to Beijing
Well, today is Wednesday, August 31st… so I’m departing to Beijing in just about 6 days. Although this will be my fourth study program in China, there’s always a bit of jitters that predates a big life change such as this. This fall, I’ll be participating in the ACC Intensive Chinese Language & Culture Program at Minzu University. The program is well-known as one of most intensive and challenging collegiate Chinese language programs in the world… and I’m hoping that it will help my take my Chinese to the next level!
So a little bit about my program: I’ll be living with a roommate in the international student dormitories at Minzu University, the campus has a strict Chinese-only language pledge, intensive classes will be Monday-Thursday and there will be formal examinations every Friday, and the program concludes with a thesis-level independent research report and presentation in Chinese. Classes are typically 4-5 hours per day: with a morning lecture, drills, conversation class, and private tutoring. Of course these 4-5 hours don’t account for time spent completing homework (and we all know homework in China is no joke).
In conclusion, I could not be more excited to head to the Atlanta airport, board my early-morning Delta plane, and fly a total of about 16 hours to start my semester in Beijing. So… stay tuned for more posts (expect weekly-to-biweekly updates), exciting (and hilarious/inspirational/happy/sad/uplifting/random) pictures, and a few surprise video blogs along the way. Once again, thanks to the Fund for Education Abroad for supporting me on this journey… looking forward to sharing it with you all.
Thoughts on London
As I mentioned, I’ll be spending the Spring 2017 semester in London, England… hopefully at King’s College London. Since it is technically a separate program from my Fall 2016 program, I’m still in the process applying for the exchange through my school. Once I receive more information on my status, I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated.