Drury Students Prepare for Upcoming Trip to Beijing, China

By: Kaitlyn Schwers

At Drury, over 50% of graduates have studied abroad. Most of these students choose to study abroad in Greece, Spain, England, and other European countries. But in addition, Drury also offers a study abroad program in China, where students can study Asian culture and Mandarin.

In February 2013, Drury students Burke Barnett, Jennifer Kervian, and Samuel Gardner will be making a trip to Beijing, China to study at Tsinghua University. The three will study Mandarin in China for one semester.
Jennifer, an Asian studies student, hopes to become more fluent in Mandarin. So far, she and the other students have taken six credit hours of the language.

“When you tell people you’re learning Mandarin, they always think it’s this big terrifying thing that’s like impossible to learn. And I’m not saying it’s not, but it’s like comparable to learning French or Spanish. It’s just instead of learning verb tenses, you’re learning characters because Chinese doesn’t use verb tenses at all, so it eliminates that problem completely,” Jennifer explains. “It’s scary, but the lack of understanding on it is what makes it seem more terrifying than most people assume.”

Like the other students, Samuel’s main goal is to improve his Mandarin, but he also looks forward to exploring China.

“I would really like to visit the Himalayas and other rural areas in China.  If the opportunity arises to go somewhere different in China I will accept, although I don’t have many places specifically in mind,” he says, “I will also be visiting family in Taiwan but I am not sure exactly when I am doing that.”

International political science major, Burke Barnett, also wants to travel around with many places in mind, such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall, and the Shaolin Temple.

“That’s the main goal is getting much better at Mandarin,” Burke says, “But I’m also excited to learn more about the culture because I really want to get involved with that in my career. I’m also excited to travel a lot and try new food and stuff.”

As a history major who has studied China, Jennifer is excited to see it for herself.

She says, “I’m a history major so any excuse to see Asian history is like my favorite thing in the world, so to be able to see it in person definitely makes it a lot cooler.”

Visit www.drury.edu/studyabroad to learn more about the semester program at Tsinghua University and to see photos of past trips.