A semester spent off-campus can be an important part of the liberal arts education one receives at Wabash. It allows to explore academic areas not available in Crawfordsville. In my case, these are Mandarin and the Chinese culture. Almost exactly one year ago, I was selected to spend the spring semester of my junior year representing Wabash College at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. I am deeply thankful to Wabash for this amazing opportunity and plan to do my very best to make the most out of it. Therefore, I flew to China shortly after the end of the fall semester, even though my program at Fudan does not start until March. I will spend the two months prior to the beginning of the Fudan semester intensively learning Mandarin and helping Wabash admissions recruit future Wabash men in China. This early arrival would not be possible without the generous help of Khurram Tahir’01. Mr. Tahir greatly helped with all the pre-departure preparations and provided me with a place to stay: his fabulous 28th floor modern apartment located in the Chaoyang district of Beijing.
As I already mentioned, I will do my best to make sure that I am taking full advantage of the time I spend in China. Apart from being a student at Fudan University in the spring, I will also complete a part-time internship with Becton, Dickinson and Company, a global medical equipment producer. I will be working at their Chinese headquarters located in Shanghai. I received this remarkable internship offer from Greg Spencer’76, BD Business director for Asia-Pacific. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Spencer in Beijing on Thursday. We drank coffee and Chinese green tea while discussing the nature of work at Becton Dickinson. I am very thankful for this internship opportunity and will work hard to significantly contribute to BD Shanghai.
Since Wabash does not offer Mandarin classes, I am also currently preparing my application for the summer project Dill Grant available to Wabash students through the generosity of Michael Dill ’71. I would like to stay in China for the summer in order to learn as much Mandarin as I can before returning to Wabash for my senior year.
I devoted my first week in Beijing to learning Mandarin, getting to know the city, and making local friends. I survived a record snowfall and witnessed China dethroning Germany as world’s biggest exporter. Being a native of Upper Silesia, the most urbanized region of Poland, I really feel at home in the Beijing metropolis. It’s a great environment to learn the language. Chinese people are
friendly as well as extremely helpful and patient with foreigners who try to learn their language. I really feel that that this spring (and hopefully summer) will be a life-changing experience.