SAF scholar Geming Liu discusses what studying abroad has meant to her.
I started this exchange experience with an attempt to explore my self-identity and become a self-expert, because I felt like I had gotten stuck in life during my sophomore year [of college].
Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, a wonderful city in the United States. This city is not too big that you will feel lost, but not too small that you can't find everything you need: nice restaurants, shopping malls, beautiful parks, great theatres, interesting farms, grand stadiums and more. Most importantly, people here are nice, and the American Southern lifestyle is very balanced and peaceful.
The campus has expanded rapidly in the recent years, and more and more international students have been studying here. The campus itself is breathtaking. I feel like I am living in a forest, which is kind of true because Vanderbilt is also a well-known park.
Dining on campus is amazing, and there are lots of choices: steak, salad, grill, Chinese food, vegetarian food, pho, salad, fruit and more, you name it.
The Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center is also amazing, so you can workout on a regular basis with ease. It is very near to main campus. I took swimming class there, and it is a lot of fun. I even tried scuba diving, which I couldn't do because I am not a very good swimmer. But I learned from the experience that I need to take time to build a solid foundation before hurrying to do things. At Vanderbilt, I learned that it's OK to have an imperfect experience. What I learn from an experience and, next time, how I improve the experience is what matters.
Choosing classes could be a bit difficult, but you've got a lot of choices. The Human and Organizational Development (HOD) major is a popular major at 'Vandy' so, of course, HOD classes fill up quickly. I also like managerial classes. I heard sociology classes and philosophy classes are very interesting. Apart from those for-credit classes, I like taking ELC class to improve my English. The class helps you with pronunciation and presentations. In addition, the writing studio is also a good place to polish writing assignments.
Professors are generally very approachable. They will challenge you, but also provide you with necessary help. The amount of studying required can be intense, though. A semester is full of classes, quizzes, tests, homework, group projects and more. But these assignments are very good ways to utilize what you've learned in class.
Blair School of Music is also a part of my experience at Vanderbilt. I take piano classes there. Actually, I studied piano for more than 10 years, but at Vanderbilt I realized for the first time that music is a language. I learned that as a musician you need to listen to the music instead of just playing it. If you make a mistake, it doesn’t matter, just try again.
At Vanderbilt, I feel the peaceful power of my inner self. I haven’t found a clear-cut answer in my journey for self-exploration, but I will never stop thinking about those questions. At least I found out what I need, what I want, and I expanded the angle from which I perceive life.
Host: Vanderbilt University
Home: Jinan University