Quirks of Being Abroad

By Garrett Weinberg, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with Peking University (PKU) in Beijing, China

Peking Garrett Weinberg 1During this exchange, I had the privilege of rooming with Robert Lee. If you can’t tell from the picture, we know how to have fun and be a little bit weird. We endured many “China” experiences together, and it was very encouraging and entertaining having someone there to laugh and commiserate with.

The best way to learn about a culture is to live in it. We learned a lot about Chinese culture during this exchange- the things you love about China and the things you can only shake your head, laugh about, and learn to deal with.

There was a group chat for the apartment and we would often watch the conversation between the residents. We definitely improved our Chinese vocabulary in certain areas more than others…Peking Garrett Weinberg 2

Over the Mid-Autumn Festival break, I had the privilege of going to Inner Mongolia with 4 Chinese families. Actually, many of my friends also went to Inner Mongolia during the same time, but because of timing, I couldn’t go with them, so a friend of mine offered me to take me along with a few Chinese families. Chinese people are VERY hospitable when you get to know them, and they were very gracious to me.

Inner Mongolia was beautiful! Full of nature, rolling hills, wide open grasslands, and glowing sunsets- a breath of fresh air from the polluted skies of Beijing. I didn’t travel as much as I should have when I was on exchange, but it was good to get out of the city at least once.

Peking Garrett Weinberg 3The most enjoyable and memorable part of exchange was the people that I met. I was blessed to meet some amazing people from all around the world. I know that I’ve made some friends for life, friends that I can hit up any time I’m in their city/country.

To me, a city is only as great as the people in it, and Beijing, being the international city that it is, is home to many great people. As I think about where to move/work in the future, Beijing, despite all its quirks and problems, has a certain way of attracting amazing people to it that keeps me coming back.

I still don’t know where I’ll be going after I graduate, but I definitely haven’t ruled out the thought of going back to Beijing.