Why I Decided to Study a Foreign Language While Studying Abroad

Johnathan Molina is a student at Texas A&M University and an ISA Featured Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with ISA in Shanghai, China.

Why Chinese?

In my perspective, learning a new language is like a key that opens the door to a whole new society. Chinese is the most spoken language in the world due the 1.3 billion people that currently reside in China. The city of Shanghai alone is one of the biggest cities in the world by population, and has the largest ship exporter in the world. It was this list of facts that helped my decision of studying abroad in Shanghai. It is a city that has had a lot of economic and technological advancements in the past few years.

The famous Shanghai skyline consists of some of the tallest buildings in the world.

Welcome to Shanghai

So far, I’ve noticed the people of Shanghai are surprisingly very used to foreigners, it is safe to say that Shanghai has become an internationally diverse city. Due to this it has become a city that continues to change their social values to accommodate its many diverse citizens. Shanghai has all the characteristics needed for a city to be a major financial hub in the future. The thought of China growing their economy exponentially during these times gives me more reason to learn the language. I want to take closer look at what China is doing right.

Downtown Shanghai is the city’s financial hub.
People’s Square is a very famous park in Shanghai, you can find theaters and museums within the area.

The Challenges

The Chinese language can sometimes be very difficult to pick up. I personally struggled trying to learn the language back in the states. But ever since I arrived in Shanghai, my Chinese proficiency has increased exponentially. Part of the reason is that Shanghai offers the best environment to practice your Chinese. You need a basic understanding of the language to navigate through the streets and subways. If you want to buy anything here, you also need to use the language. The challenge of having to use the language every day is what helps my Chinese get better.

Global harbor is one of the biggest malls in Shanghai, a ten-minute walk from the ECNU campus.
Nanjing road is known for having many luxury brand stores, so it is often compared to Times Square.

A Rewarding Experience

Being in this city has reassured my decision of learning Chinese, it is a very lively city full of excitement and many ambitious people. Shanghai is filled with extravagant views, from Nanjing road, to Thames town, and the bund, the city is the perfect image of a modern city. Every day, I discover something new about the city’s society and culture just by roaming the streets. China is country that has lot to offer for the future. And the city of Shanghai is a true testimony of that. By learning some Chinese every day while I’m here, I will be able to expand my professional network to a global platform. Taking on the challenge of learning a language out of your comfort zone can be the most rewarding you’ll ever do.

Thames Town is a suburb of Shanghai with many beautiful parks and new buildings.

The world awaits…discover it.

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