Obies Using Languages: Loan Lu ’15

Loan is currently a senior majoring in East Asian Studies with International Studies Concentration. At Oberlin, she has taken Chinese classes and the Korean Exco, and is currently learning Japanese. She spent her Spring Semester 2014 studying abroad in Beijing, China. 

Last semester I attended the Associated Colleges in China Program in Beijing and did a four-month of intensive Chinese language. During the course of the program, I had to do 5 hours of Chinese language everyday, not including time to do homework and write essays all in Chinese. The program was indeed very stressful and demanding, but I would never regret doing it because my Chinese improved tremendously just after four months. I still remember the first days that I came to Beijing when I had to take a cab from the airport back to our dorm, I was only able to say 3 sentences to the taxi driver. I was super nervous every time I had to speak Chinese and was barely able to order any thing in a restaurant. But now I am back to Oberlin and taking 5th year of Chinese, where I can basically read Chinese literature, discuss with my Chinese professor about Confucius philosophy in Chinese. It was by far one of my most memorable semesters in college, and I would highly recommend the program to anyone who is interested in pursuing advanced study of Chinese language. I believe that the best way to understand a culture and its people is by studying its language, because “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

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