I travelled a lot before coming to College of William & Mary, but I never had the opportunity to live in another country. The past four months living in Williamsburg has been an amazing opportunity to experience American culture firsthand.
Life in Williamsburg is a lot calmer than in Beijing. When I first arrived in Williamsburg, I missed Beijing–the lights, the noise, the busy streets and my friends. Gradually, I got accustomed to W&M: my Residence Advisor took the time to introduce W&M to me and my roommate invited me to her grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. Life for an exchange student is not easy: the vast language and cultural differences can be vast. However, all my new friends helped me think of Williamsburg as my second home.
I enjoyed my William & Mary classes. I found my classmates active and exciting, expressing their veiwpoints in novel and creative ways that prompted me to think more broadly about the course’s topics. I was also impressed by the innovative ways my classmates approached their schoolwork. For a public speaking assignment, we were required to shoot a five-minute video to demonstrating a skill. Some students demonstrated cooking, playing a sport, knitting, and one student even taught the class how to dance “Gangnam Style!”
There are thousands of foreign exchange students pursuing degrees in American institutions, demonstrating the quality of American higher education. From my three-month experience at W&M, I believe the American higher education system deserves the reputation as the world’s best. W&M students’ assignments are connected with current affairs, encouraging students to apply class knowledge to solve real-world problems. Additionally, professors’ teaching methods let students design research projects and encourage individual thinking, letting W&M students think independently. Based on my time at W&M, I believe these teaching methods have helped foster creative W&M students, and outstanding American citizens.
Jie Zheng spent the 2012 Fall Semester at William & Mary as an exchange student from Tsinghua University, China. Jie is an Economics and Journalism double major. During her time at W&M, Jie participated in the FLAG program, working as a volunteer teacher in local elementary school. She likes travelling and was deeply impressed by the long history and profound culture of Williamsburg.