I began my year in China working at the British embassy in Beijing, before starting university at Peking University, one of China’s top universities, as part of my year abroad. It was at this time when my John Speak scholarship started, providing me with extra money that enabled me to make the most of my time in China. Whilst studying I also interned at a Chinese app company, which not only gave me an insight into the Chinese work place environment, but also provided me with the opportunity to make Chinese friends.
However, as I’m sure many of my friends would agree, the highlight of our year abroad was the chance to go travelling and explore the many diverse regions of this huge country.
Thanks to the John Speak scholarship, I was able to make the most of my school holidays, and over the course of the year visited 14 different provinces!
Not only did these trips enhance my understanding of the large geographical and cultural diversity that exits within China, but also allowed me to deepen my knowledge of Mandarin. It is only through travelling that I came to understand just how much the accents and pronunciations of Mandarin vary across different regions. This has helped me improve my ability to tell where a Chinese speaker comes from, a useful skill for any language student.
I would like to thank the John Speak trust for the support they gave me during my year abroad. It greatly enriched my experience of living in China, and proved to be a great aid in the development of my Mandarin.