However, I believe that the most effective route is to study abroad. People say the level of speaking, listening, and writing a foreign language can be improved and advanced rapidly in an environment using the language everyday and everywhere. Likewise, I always thought the same way. So I decided to go to China to study abroad. In September of 2007, I arrived at Pudong airport in Shanghai and I had stayed in Suzhou for a year as an exchange student of Ewha Womans University.
I attended Soochow University, which is located in Suzhou. Suzhou is a very traditional city located in eastern China. There are a lot of places attracting one’s historical interests. For example, there are traditional gardens which are recognized as the most famous gardens to foreigners in China. The gardens have strong and vivid Chinese traditional color such as red, which catches foreign tourists’ eyes. So I recommend people who want to travel Suzhou go and see the gardens to feel the real Chinese tradition.
Like Suzhou, Soochow University also has a very long history of about 100 years. There are beautiful and traditional buildings remaining from the past. Although those architects are not very modern, Soochow University has always been filled with scholastic passion and Chinese tradition.
In Soochow University, I met a lot of friends from all over the world. They were from Turkey, Japan, the United States, Australia and many more. Because each country has a unique tradition, we learned from each other’s tradition, culture and living style. Those were the things that I had never experienced before.
I also made many Chinese friends who helped me study Chinese and learn Chinese traditional culture. They also made me try some unique Chinese food that I was a bit afraid of as well.
The year in Suzhou will be remembered as a great experience in my mind forever. That precious year will never be forgotten in my life.
* Khu Jee-hyun (Chinese Language & Literature, 4) studied at Soochow University in China.