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Senior Katora Slaughter Spends Spring Term in Beijing

February 14, 2012

Katora Slaughter is spending Spring 2012 abroad.  What makes her decision  unusual is that Katora chose the Beijing Language and Culture University.  She has no previous Chinese language experience and all of her classes are presented in Chinese.  Here's her story -

"I am from Chester, a small area outside Philadelphia. I am a Chester High School graduate and a young black single parent. I'm trying to make a better life for me and my son.  I would like to get a better understanding of the world around me. Being from a small town there are a lot of things I don't know. This is the first time I've ever flown or been out of the country.

"The business aspect and production qualities attracted me to China. Chinese people are some of the most successful business people in the world and I've always been fascinated by them. I want to learn how they manage money and create business alliances in the U.S. As a student, I know that understanding their language and culture is very important. It helps break down the barriers between us. I know if I understand them better, I can be more successful in business here.

"When I first arrived, there were many things that were different from what I was used to.  Because I am very open-minded, I have already explored my surroundings, tried scorpion and many other foods. I was the first student in my program to buy a bike and use it to explore the campus and some parts of Beijing.

"I am the only African American student in my program and the only student with no previous Chinese language experience. People here have been very helpful and welcoming. Everyone here says that I am very brave to come to China with no experience.

"There is little to no English spoken in class which makes it challenging. My teacher is helpful with extra tutoring hours and 1 on 1 sessions. As an African American student from a small area, I am accustomed to things being difficult but I always think positive and keep smiling.

"People have welcomed me here with open arms. I'm like a celebrity to some because many Chinese people, especially from the more rural areas, have never seen a Black person before. They often want to take pictures with me and this really makes them happy. This is really different for me but I like it!

"I have to say that my study abroad program is teaching me how to be more diversified. I never expected this to be such a Great Experience!!! But it is. It really opened my eyes to the world - it's Great! I feel like I can conquer anything now. "