Studying in Shanghai


Jenny Rosario '12 of Brooklyn, N.Y., is immersing herself in her international business studies this semester as she continues her education in China.

She one of four students who are the first from MCLA to enroll for a semester abroad at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade's International School of Business, School of International Studies and School of Languages.

"Being one of the first exchange students in China from MCLA is a big deal for me," Rosario said. "I now feel the responsibility to enlighten people when I get back from the different world that's out here. I feel like more people need to visit and study other countries so you can get a better understanding of your own country you live in. Being here made me realize some of the advantages and disadvantages we have living in America. Everywhere I go in China I am representing MCLA, the U.S., being Spanish and colored."

Rosario lives in an international hotel in Shanghai, about 85 percent of which is filled with students from all over the world. It's not her first time to visit China: two years ago she spent 10 days in the country while traveling on an MCLA spring break trip.

"When I first came to China two years ago, I left without really understanding what it was like to live an everyday life here," she said. "The best part about that experience is that I got to see this country first hand, and that's an experience no one can take away from me. It was the best decision I have made during my college years."

This semester, "I've met people from many different regions, such as Great Britain, Spain, Russia, Africa and South America," said Rosario. "The thing I love the most about studying among other international students is the fact that I get to learn about their culture and language."

Her friends at SIFT speak a variety of different dialects, including Spanish, Dutch and French, and of course, Chinese. "It makes me really want to push to learn more languages in the near future."

She's taking classes in Chinese, China trade stimulation, Chinese culture and how to do business in China.

"I'm really enjoying the class on trade stimulation," Rosario said. "It's a class that is run as an internship. They believe the most effective way of learning through a internship is to do things hands-on, so this exposes us to experience more."

To give students a more complete experience, students at SIFT must dress for the class in business attire.  "When you make people wear skirts and ties, it makes for a more professional atmosphere," Rosario said.

She is most interested in the ways the Chinese have built and run their businesses differently than the way it's done in the U.S. And, her study abroad experience has introduced Rosario to some different perspectives on how other people live.

"This experience has taught me to be more open-minded about the world. I can now say that I've lived in another country. When I came over here I didn't know anyone - not even the other MCLA students," she added. "This is giving me the courage to seek job opportunities outside the United States. China is a great place to start. This country has grown so much over the years as a power country, and I would like to be a part of that."

After her graduation from MCLA, Rosario plans to earn her master's degree. She also is considering returning to China to teach English to high school students for a year.

"China is a great place to network, and I hope that I can find what I'm looking for before my stay here is over," she said.