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The Nanjing University Exchange Program
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Emily Burke

Major: Mechanical Engineering, Comparative Literature
Minor: English
Hometown: Middletown, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was sent an email through the Department of Comparative Literature offering this opportunity to students.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I traveled to Nanjing, China to learn about China's culture and history at Nanjing University. Nanjing was the capital of China before Beijing, and it is far less developed than Shanghai or Beijing. Nanjing University is also one of the top universities in China. While I was at Nanjing University, I was partnered with three students who showed me around campus and accompanied me throughout my time at the university. Together we went on planned group trips to the theater, a local town, the Purple Mountain, Nanjing's museum, and local restaurants.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience helped me develop a better appreciation for and understanding of Asian popular culture. It exposed me to people with different backgrounds and media. It also opened my understanding of what it is (for me) to go to China, as a Chinese person born in China, not knowing anything about it or the language. I think that it gives me a unique experience that will help me contribute in class in a unique way.

This experience helped me develop a better appreciation for and understanding of Asian popular culture.

What are your career goals and plans? How did this experience impact them?

I highlight this study abroad experience in my cover letters, as a lot of the companies I am applying for want experience in Asia. I plan to enter the workforce as a Mechanical Engineer in new product development. A lot of engineering companies work very closely with Asian manufacturing sites and want people with experience in China.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes, it was a great experience to interact with students at Nanjing University and learn more about China's history and popular culture (movies, books, plays, etc). It opened my eyes to Chinese culture and opened my eyes to myself as a Chinese person who grew up in the United States - looking Chinese but only speaking English. It was also a great opportunity for students who cannot afford to travel abroad.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

Through their emails and programming, the Paterno Fellows Program consistently encourages cultural and global experiences through classroom teachings, extracurricular activities, and study abroad programs. This constant push to get involved and learn more encouraged me to go on this trip.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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