Experiencing Abroad

Posted by at 6:59PM

As a sophomore, the past week or so my Facebook newsfeed has been littered with classmates’ statuses, rejoicing their acceptance to study abroad in the fall.  It has made me wonder: what is the real deal about going abroad?  How do you pick which program to attend? If you were wondering the same thing, you are in luck.  Thanks to the lovely student advisors at the Bing study abroad programs, who have volunteered to share a little bit about their study abroad experience in order the demystify it for the rest of us, I will be highlighting 2 programs every so often. So you will eventually get a peek into every study abroad program (except the Barcelona consortium cuz they don’t have peer advisors). Soooo to all you students thinking about applying second round to go abroad in the fall and don’t know if you should, this is for you!

Today’s winners are: Beijing and Stanford in Washington (not really abroad, but hey, it IS super far from Stanford)!

On Beijing:

“I started taking Chinese language classes in high school, but I never though I would continue taking them in college. However, the first time I went to China I loved the experience so much I had a complete change of heart. As soon as I started Stanford I enrolled in language classes and already started planning my abroad experience in Beijing. Once I arrived on campus at Beijing University I was astonished to find how similar the conditions were to the conditions I was used to at Stanford. The dorms had comfortable beds, clean bathrooms, and easy internet access. In addition, the Stanford center even had a computer cluster and a TV for us to watch movies on. The whole adjusting experience was even easier than I imagined. I found almost no need to use Chinese to get around on campus (so don’t be worried about the lack of a language requirement!).

The program also offers you great field trips to all of the hotspots in Beijing as well as a Bing trip to a different province entirely. But there’s still plenty to explore on your own in Beijing. I would recommend spending at least three or four days bargaining your way through Silk Street, hitting up smugglers in San Li Tun for cheap drinks, and going to see Mao’s body in People’s Square (you’ll be amazed at how many people start crying tears of joy when they see him). So if you’re thinking about going abroad I definitely recommend going to China. I loved it so much I even studied abroad in Beijing twice.”

– Kelsey Broderick

On Stanford in Washington:

“It’s hard to describe the Stanford in Washington experience. Usually the
narrative falls somewhere between court life at Versailles and the life of robber
barons during the Gilded Age. I don’t know how to say it except this: You’ll never be
as pampered in your life as you were in Washington.

It’s a combination of the very generous backing of our beloved Peter and
Helen Bing, an amazing program director and staff, and the company of some great
Stanford students that result in ‘the best quarter of your Stanford career™. Nights
out at the Kennedy Center, trips to Gettysburg and Philadelphia, and packed lunches
that will be the envy of everyone at work. Technically you’re in the real world, but
the Stanford bubble never felt more comfortable.

If you want an exotic experience, you could go abroad, where you’ll have
your fair share of “One time when I was wasted…” stories. I was in Paris, I know.
But you won’t know what happens to a congressional intern who hangs up on Rahm
Emanuel (technically, we don’t either), what it’s like to babysit for a certain Fox
News commentator (hint: she’s blond), how magical it is to watch Bill Clinton (or
Sarah Palin, if you’re into that kind of thing) speak. Things like that won’t happen to
you on a daily basis, maybe never if you’re unlucky, but that’s why you live with 20
other students who work all over the city and have crazy stories to tell you over a
delicious dinner prepared by Chef Tate. Then enjoy a coffee from the ridiculous Van
Houtte coffee machine, maybe in the lounge with HDTV.

Washington isn’t just a city where the social life revolves around fraternizing
with your politically inclined co-interns. Yes, you will run into a lot of them in
Dupont Circle, but if you are a political indifferent like I am, you will enjoy the
cultural offerings of areas such as the U Street Corridor, home to many a NPR-
loving hipster and the fantastic music venue at the 9:30 Club, just a 15-minute
bus ride away from the Stanford house. If you are over 21, stop by the Gibson, my
favorite bar. If not, you could go to some of the best museums in the entire world
at the Smithsonian, where entry is free, not to mention the monuments that are
EVERYWHERE. Spend two hours watching the pandas eat bamboo at the National
Zoo just up the street. If you really don’t want to go anywhere that involves more
than 15 minutes of walking, walk over the bridge to Adams Morgan. American
University kids call it the Mog for some reason, but seriously, enjoy the jumbo slice
pizza.”

– Purun Cheong

That is it for this time’s “Experiencing Abroad.”  Keep reading the blog to hear more!

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