William Glaser is currently studying abroad at Peking University
Greetings from Beijing! 63 days down and only 107 to go!
This e-mail cannot begin to describe how much I have learned and how much I have changed in the past 2 months. I am going to attempt a brief, but descriptive whack at what's been going on! I can honestly say that I was more afraid of missing out on things back home then I was to be surrounded by new faces and people. I was going to miss vacations, school at Miami, the landscaping business, coaching my kids at Blue Ash and being with the people I love and care about.
Over the past 2 months I have developed new life time friendships and an appreciation for how truly filled with life the world is, outside of the life I know. I do miss everything at home and will miss a few experiences. But I realized, while walking on the Great Wall at Badaling the other day, that this truly is my big shot. Had I not the support/courage to come here and take this chance, I wouldn't have grown through the experiences I have had or will have in the future. I would have missed out on opportunities of a lifetime by not taking small steps into a much larger world.
I also realized how important being here is to my future. Many of you know my passion for learning about Chinese culture and the language. China is growing at an amazing rate. While it has a long way to go, you don't realize the potential here until you are here. I have read about it in endless text books, done projects on it and even researched it here. China will be the place to be in a few years if you are in business! China has managed to almost completely avoid the financial crisis that most of the world was struck with and is still growing!
Chinese learning is very intensive here. At the beginning of the semester I had to take a test on my Chinese proficiency to be placed in the language courses. I tested well enough to have the option to begin studying with the students taking Chinese as a major. To my professors attached in this e-mail, never again will I think poorly about a 50 minute - 2 hour class again. Class begins at 8 A.M. here Monday-Friday and goes till 12 P.M. Wednesday is by far the worse day of the week for me because we have an additional speaking class for Chinese from 1:30 - 3:30 P.M. I can without a doubt say my Chinese has improved ten fold with all this class here. Listening still needs a lot of work because I have a hard time differentiating the tones, but am improving daily. Hopefully by the time I return I will be fluent! I coach a swimmer who speaks a bit of Mandarin back in Cincinnati and look forward to getting back and talking to her about her swims in Chinese!
At night I have my MBA business classes at 7 P.M. to 10 P.M. Monday-Friday. While my Chinese is good enough to get me around and have conversation, it is not effective enough to understand new concepts in a business class. The only business courses offered in English are International MBA courses. I am by far the youngest in my class, it is mostly people ages 24-45. But everyone is very friendly and have met a few Chinese business professionals! I recently completed the exam for the course Strategic Management and Innovation. It was very interesting because for the first two weeks they flew in an international professor to teach the lectures. Than the bulk of the material was taught by a professor from the university. This process took two months to get used to, but I finally have adapted to the 7-9 hours of class I have a day.
I went to visit where I will be interning this summer last week. My internship is from June 15 to August 15. It is a five star hotel in Beijing. The facilities are beautiful and I was super impressed because I didn't know what to expect from a five star hotel here. The internship deals with a training program that they give the possible general managers of the hotel. It is a two month walk through dealing with the day to day management of one of their numerous five star locations. As of now this is all I have found out and will be receiving more information as time goes by and will keep everyone up to date.
As many of you know, I enjoy eating. I also will eat just about anything, which has held true here in China. I have had some very different meals and most of them have been extremely good. Through eating I have learned a lot about the culture of Chinese dining and dinner parties. I have attended two business setting dinners, which is where I have definitely learned the most about Chinese dining etiquette. Being immersed here I have picked up all sorts of Chinese culture which I find very exciting. I am fascinated with the history of China and had the privilege of visiting some truly amazing locations! The school does a wonderful job of providing some free opportunities for international students which I have taken advantage of. I continue to try to immerse myself and keep an open mind so that I can learn the maximum amount in the time I am here.
The 63 days I put above are not a countdown. I really want to come home feeling like I learned everything possible in six months. Trying to make the best out of everyday, has opened me to things I thought I never would see or do! I want to thank everyone: my friends, families, teachers, employers and mentors for your encouragement and support no matter how big or small. It has been of utmost importance to my daily existence here and given me the courage to keep on chuggin'. Words can't thank you all enough for the continued love, support and encouragement.
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