Student Blogs

2 days, 18 hours, 1 minute and 35 seconds until China, but who’s counting?

August 23rd, 2012 arreta14

Hello Everyone! (大家好! ) Welcome to my study abroad blog! Here I will do my best to let you know what life is like for your everyday college student in China. First off, a little about me…

  • My name is Andrew Retallick aka 戴安竹 (Dai An Zhu) and I am from West Hartford, CT.
  • For my Junior year I will be spending the year in China. In my first semester I will be studying and living at the Beijing Institute of Education (BIE). I will spend a January Term in Beijing as well and after I will spend my second semester at Donghua University in Shanghai.
  • I love languages! Not only Mandarin Chinese, which is my major, but also Russian, which I started taking at the start of my sophomore year.
  • I love music, especially a cappella music. I am one of the co-chairs of the Holy Cross Sons of Pitches (one of Holy Cross’s five a cappella groups).
  • I love really any form of physical activity. I love running, biking, going to the gym, dancing and playing nearly any sport that you can name.
  • To build off of dancing, I joined the ballroom dance team at Holy Cross at the start of my freshman year and it was really one of, if not the best decision I made since coming to Holy Cross. I plan on finding some way to keep dancing in China.
  • I love warm beverages i.e. coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. I’ve already checked and there’s a Starbucks within walking distance of BIE.
  • It is a life long goal of mine to open up a chain of traditional Italian pizza restaurants in China.
  • I am SOOOOO Flippin Excited for China!

As I worry about packing a year’s worth of clothing into one suitcase and missing my friends and family, I think to myself, why am I going to China? So to help me remember and so you understand me a little better, I’ll try explain.
Andrew, why do you want to study in China? Terrific question! First of all, I have taken Chinese Language (Mandarin) since high school and I have loved every one of my Chinese classes. At this point, I have learned enough to have most conversations in Mandarin, but there’s still a lot more I can learn. My primary goal in going to China is to become fluent in the language.

In addition to becoming fluent in Mandarin, I hope to get a good understanding of Chinese culture and customs. Last summer I had the amazing opportunity to intern at a law firm in Washington D.C. While I worked there, I asked one of the firms’ policy advisors about what he believed was most important in doing business with international clients. Surprisingly, he replied that it was not knowing the language, but having a solid understanding of foreign cultures and customs that was most important. I believe that only by studying and living in China, will I be able to really understand Chinese ways of life.

So… yeah I think I’ve left you all with enough about me to start out with. (Sorry it’s a little long). Back to packing! Oh yes, before I forget, I want to encourage anyone reading this blog to comment or ask me questions you may have about China. If there is something you are curious about, I will do my best to find out about it. Anything from “Do Shaolin temples really exist and are they as cool as those in the movies?” to “Please try fried scorpion and tell me what it tastes like.”

My Room (it doesn't always look like this) How can I make this all fit in one suitcase? Hmm...

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