Why did you decide to study abroad with CET?
Jason: UNC offers a fellowship that combines a semester studying Chinese with a summer internship – I applied for the fellowship, and was lucky enough to be accepted. UNC frequently sends students to CET’s China programs, and this particular fellowship specifically sends students to CET. So I didn’t actually specifically decide to study with CET, but I’m glad UNC decided otherwise!
Did you run into a language barrier while studying abroad in China?
Jason: It was always frustrating to feel like I didn’t have the vocabulary to express myself fully or completely. However, sometimes it wasn’t the vocabulary I was missing – Chinese language is often coded, where you say one thing, but are really referring to something else, and you have to read between the lines of what’s said (or what’s not said).
Tell us about any interesting/unexpected cultural tidbits you noticed in China.
Jason: It fascinated me to learn about what was appropriate and inappropriate to say in China. For example, it was entirely okay to say to a friend “wow…you’ve gained weight!” and yet, it was not okay to directly say that you didn’t want to go somewhere, or that you didn’t want to spend money on an activity – you always had to say “sorry, I can’t go because I have other plans.” It also fascinated me that if I was ever with a Chinese person, and they were eating something, they would immediately offer me some of what they were eating, even if they didn’t have all that much food to begin with! It didn’t matter if it was an orange, or a meal, there was always an offer for me to try some.