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How I Overcame My Fear of Studying Abroad

From Jinan, the capital of China's Shandong province, one SAF Scholar reveals how he adapted to American campus culture.

18 September 2017

My experience at Berkeley studying overseas was an exciting event for me, but I once worried about it very much before going abroad. My first concern was the English language. Although I have been learning English for more than 10 years, I thought my insufficient vocabulary might be a problem. The second concern was face to face communication with foreigners. Because of these worries and concerns, I had no confidence in my ability to adapt myself to the study life abroad before I went to Berkeley. With these worries, I studied at Berkeley in July and August this year for more than 40 days. I met a lot of difficulties and have overcome many problems. This experience is unforgettable to me.

1. I dared to communicate with my classmates and foreign friends

As expected, the first trouble I experienced was with the English language. I really learned English for the needs of daily life before, but I found that the English which I had learned did not satisfy the specialized area. I could not even understand what the teacher spoke in the language classes. However, I believed the summer session would improve my English if I tried my best to study. Past experience has proved my success. I insisted on learning English everyday during the summer session, and dared to communicate with my classmates and foreign friends. Soon my English greatly improved. 

2. I relied on support from fellow Chinese studentsChao Dong

The second trouble was relationships between people who come from different countries, because they might have absolute different opinions. Knowing how to get on well with the Western people was also one of the biggest challenges. Thanks to the large number of Chinese students there, I felt close to the Chinese students and we students helped each other. My experience shows that the best way to get on with the Western people is by being polite to them. They would not feel the distance between the Chinese person who always keeps smiling in every way.

​Chao Dong
Host: University of California, Berkeley 
Home: School of Nuclear Science and Technology Lanzhou

​Edited by Erika Woodward

Chao Dong
Chao Dong

How I Overcame My Fear

of Studying Abroad
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