Jazmin Fermin ’13 knew coming in as a First Year Student to Fairfield University that she wanted to study abroad. “I really like to travel and learn about other cultures. And Fairfield is very good about supporting students that want to go abroad,” she explained. The decision to explore study abroad was easy, but the exact location took more time to determine before the Bronx, N.Y., native set her sights on China.
“I thought that China would be a good idea, specifically for business majors, because of its growing economy and many opportunities,” she said. Fermin is majoring in finance with a minor in economics and thought that the courses in China would give her a unique perspective on the global economy.
Living and learning in China was an unforgettable experience for Fermin. “The people were very welcoming and are very free in the sense that appearances are not judged and everyone is comfortable being themselves,” she explained. She also enjoyed the mix of traditional and contemporary influences in Chinese culture and urban life. This was especially apparent in the Fu Jen Province, where Fermin stayed in the city of Shamen. “The city is an interesting mix of old and new, which you see in China often,” she said.
Her academic program was organized through The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, a program that, in addition to courses, sent Fermin and her international classmates to several provinces throughout China to experience different aspects of Chinese culture.
Traveling around China helped Fermin acclimate to the country, although she noted that she was initially overwhelmed – especially because of the language, with which she had no prior experience. “The first week was nerve-wracking because of the language. At least when you’re abroad in Europe you see letters, but in China it’s all characters.”
Fermin did improve her Chinese skills with the help of a language course and through sessions with a Chinese tutor. She and her tutor also shared their experiences of growing up in America and China and talked about the differences and similarities between the two.
In addition to her language course, Fermin took courses that counted towards her core requirements at Fairfield, including a history course in modern China, a religious studies course in Daoism, and a biology course. She also took an economics course for her minor: “China and the world economy.”
Learning about the global economy from China’s point of view was a good opportunity to see the world from a different perspective, Fermin, who hopes to secure a job in corporate finance, noted. This semester at Fairfield, she’s taking an international finance course, which has complemented what she learned in her Chinese courses.
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