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What I Did in Beijing …

Current Student Advisors

Binna Kim - Autumn 2011-12
MAJOR: Psychology
ADVISOR: Michael Frank

My experience in China was sprinkled with bits and pieces of beauty, love, and life. It’s true that China has dirty water, unsafe food practice, and smog. (China actually is a socialist country, not communist, despite popular belief). But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and you just have to open your eyes to the things happening in China.Read full profile »

Alexandra To — Spring 2011-12
MAJOR: Symbolic Systems
ADVISOR: Todd Davies

At sixteen, I took it upon myself to start the mildly daunting task of learning Mandarin Chinese online. This ended up eventually leading me into 2nd year Modern Chinese at Stanford my freshman year. It was definitely a huge change from online classes, but I think I learned more in that course in two weeks than I did in a month of online class!Read full profile »


Past Student Advisors

Breanna Jones — Autumn 2010-11
MAJOR: Public Policy
ADVISOR: Joan Petersilia

Confined as a child to a lazy town in Central California, I knew early on that I wanted to get out and see the world. I began taking Chinese my freshman year at Stanford, originally just to learn how to speak with my waitressing coworkers back home, but I quickly fell in love. I decided I had to see that strange culture I chattered about in class, so I applied and was fortunate enough to receive a fellowship to work at the International Labour Organization’s Beijing office that first summer. I was ecstatic and almost totally unprepared, so—much to my mother’s distress—I boarded a plane to China that June with only some tenuous leads on housing, which I had received in response to a classified ad. Fortunately for me, enthusiasm and friendliness truly can pull you through in Beijing...Read full profile »

Caroline Schwanzer — Spring 2010-11
MAJOR: International Relations
MINORs: Chinese, Modern Languages

My quarter in Beijing helped me make 27 amazing new friends that I will never forget. Although I had been there previously, this second exposure to China was one of the best experiences during my four years at Stanford.  If you’re still not convinced, I have an extensive repertoire of wonderful (and funny) stories about Beijing that I’d love to share with you!

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photo of Kelsey Broderick Kelsey Broderick —
MAJOR: Anthropology

I started taking Chinese language classes in high school, but I never though I would continue taking them in college. However, the first time I went to China I experienced a complete change of heart. After completing a summer internship in Shanghai my junior year of high school I immediately fell in love with the Chinese culture, environment, and people. As soon as I started Stanford I enrolled in language classes and already started planning my abroad experience in Beijing.Read full profile »

photo of Jessica Talbert Jessica Talbert —
MAJOR: International Relations

Prior to coming to Stanford my international experience chalked up to a band trip to Vancouver in my senior year of high school and a couple of Mexico trips with my family. Like many, however, I had aspirations of traveling far away, to countries different in almost every aspect from what I had grown up with. As it turns out, despite large gaps in cultural differences, people can be pretty similar, even if thousands of years of culture, massive geographical gaps, and language barriers might suggest otherwise. This is a truth I soon encountered after studying abroad in Beijing Fall Quarter of my junior year.

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photo of Tony Cun Tony Cun — Spring 2009
MAJOR: Biology

Beijing is a city rich in history and culture. It is full of different people with diverse backgrounds and interesting life stories. It is a city filled with endless places to visit, numerous opportunities for adventures, and plentiful people to interact with. Without a doubt there is never a dull moment in Beijing. Read full profile »

photo of Kelsey Grode Kelsey Grode — Autumn 2008, Asia Internship - Summer 2009
MAJOR: East Asian Studies
ACADEMIC INTERESTS: Developmental economics (senior thesis on industrial clusters in Southeastern China)

I came to Stanford with the idea that I would participate in one of their study abroad programs. After a magical ten weeks living with a Shinto priest and his wife in the rice fields of Northern Japan during high school, I was set on going to Stanford’s Kyoto center and spending a bit more time in Japan. Sadly a lack of engineering and Japanese skills meant that Japan was beyond my reach, so I thought I’d apply to the Beijing program. Japan and China, are, as it turns out, kind of different places.

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photo of Ashley Tanaka Ashley Tanaka — Autumn 2007-08
MAJOR: International Relations, Chinese
ACADEMIC INTERESTS: International Relations, International Law, East Asia

Make the most of your time abroad to really immerse yourself into Chinese culture: which might include making friends with Beida students, chatting with taxi drivers, and just going out to explore the city whenever you can.

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photo of Lucy Xiiao Lucy Xiao — Autumn 2007-08
MAJOR: Political Science
MINOR: Chinese
ACADEMIC INTERESTS: International Relations, Chinese Politics

The most meaningful part of studying abroad for me, however, was the opportunity to learn about China on a more intimate level and getting to know the country from the inside. Despite my Chinese heritage, my formal learning about China has always been within a Western framework, so I’ve always been very aware of my American bias when it comes to processing information about Chinese events and politics. When studying abroad in China, however, I was able to really interact with native Chinese people, and thus learn about China from a more grassroots approach.

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