I know right! Arabic and Japanese sounds like a random combination! BUT this is me, Xingyuan Zhang, a student from China and studied away in Trinity College, exchanged in Fudan University in Shanghai, Rikkyo University in Tokyo, and CIEE program in Amman, Jordan. As a Language and Culture Studies student in Trinity College, my interest is always focusing on different cultures from different countries.

The Language and culture Studies Department really provides students a wonderful environment to study different languages, and the connections between the languages and study away programs help students participate and enjoy the language studies. In order to understand Japanese language better, I went to study away in Rikkyo University in Tokyo during Spring 2023. While living and studying in Japan, I had the opportunity to improve my Japanese proficiency, and I learned from everything from daily conversations to academic discussions. My exchanges with local Japanese students and other international students have broadened my horizons and enhanced my understanding and respect for different cultures. At the same time, during my study tour in Japan, I met all kinds of people, developed my ability to get along with and cooperate with others, and established international friendships and connections. Most importantly, by participating in various activities and experiences, students can also discover new interests and hobbies, such as Japanese culture, art, sports, etc., enriching their life and learning experiences. For example, I joined the Japanese Tea Ceremony Club and learned Japanese tea ceremony etiquette and how to make matcha, etc. It was a very important cultural experience.

Similarly, my study abroad experiences in Jordan gave me a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage of the Arab world. More importantly, as a double major Political Science student, it helps me understand the local political environment better. During your exchange in Jordan, you can establish contact with local people, learn about their lives, values and social habits, and promote cross-cultural exchanges and the establishment of friendships. As part of the Middle East, Jordan faces some unique political and social challenges, such as the refugee crisis, religious issues, etc. Through personal experience and understanding, we can better understand the background and impact of these issues, cultivate the ability of cross-cultural understanding and problems solving. Participating in an exchange program in Jordan can expand your international horizons, increase people’s understanding of international affairs and cross-cultural exchanges, make friends from different countries and backgrounds, and build an international network of interpersonal relationships.

In the future, I will go to the University of Chicago and pursue my studies in cross-cultural politics. I hope to discover more social problems and to help promote communication and cooperation among different cultures.