Yunnan University, China
This February I left the U.S. to study Mandarin Chinese at Yunnan University in China. This is something I had dreamed about for years, but until then had never really thought I'd be able to make it a reality. Although I had been accepted into the study abroad program, I wasn't sure where I was going to come up with the money. When I found out I was the recipient of the Kaufman scholarship, I finally knew I was going to China! Studying abroad impacted me in so many ways. I got to study what I am passionate about and use it on a daily basis. I learned to appreciate a culture with completely different values from my own, and I taught my international friends about American culture. Best of all, I made friends from not just China but all over the world who I will continue to stay in contact with. One of my favorite experiences was winning third place in my school's (the International Students College of Yunnan University) karaoke competition! I also loved going out to lunch with my teachers and classmates - which happened on numerous occasions. My Chinese teachers ordered popular, authentic dishes for the table which we all ate family-style. The thing I cherish the most, though, was meeting a young Chinese girl who became my best friend and later, my roommate. She showed me great kindness, caring, and respect, helped me when I was confused, and taught me how to cook real Chinese food!