1. How did you know about the CI scholarship?
Trizha: I was introduced to it when I took a class in CI. I expressed to my teacher how interested I am in studying Mandarin in China, and she told me that the CI does offer scholarships.
2. Why did you choose to apply for the CI scholarship?
Trizha: My Mandarin teacher recommended me the CI scholarship.
3. What type of CI scholarship did you apply?
Trizha: I applied for the one-year language study together with my sister.
4. Was the process for CI scholarship easy? If not, what were some difficulties?
Trizha: The application process is only a little tedious, but can be easily done. It is a six-step process online in Chinese, wherein the most challenging part is you have to write a 300 character essay about your Chinese educational background and your purpose for wanting to study in China.
Trizha: P.S. you need to pass both HSK3 and HSKK basic in order to qualify for the one-year study program.
5. Which school did you apply to? Where is it specifically located? How long did you stay? From when until when? How was your stay in that school?
Trizha: At first, my choices were Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) and Fudan University, but I got assigned to Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan. I am currently still on the program since I started Sept 2015, and will end on April 2016.
Trizha: Actually, I like the school that I am in because the campus is nice and the environment is clean and fresh which is contrary to Wuhan’s smoggy atmosphere. The school also has a lot of flora and fauna which made it become known as the “Forest University”. Furthermore, the commute to and from the school is quite convenient as well.
6. Can you describe your learning experience from studying in China?
Trizha: If you’re lucky, you will be classmates with people who can’t speak English, which means you are forced to practice Chinese more. The teachers are excellent and they really speak in full Chinese. They seldom use English to explain something to us.
Trizha: To add to our learning, we were introduced to a tutoring program by a student organization, Students’ International Communication Association (SICA), where fellow students help you with Chinese for free. In fact, since many Chinese students here speak proficient English, they are able to communicate with us conveniently and teach us without any language barrier.
7. Apart from the studying, what other experiences can you share to us?
Trizha: Apart from the studying, I enjoy meeting people from different cultural backgrounds. In our class, we have Americans, Spanish, Ukranians, French, Koreans and Africans (Côte d’Ivoire & Madagascar), whom we became friends with as well.
8. Can you highlight your most unforgettable experience during your scholarship in China?
Trizha: Maybe the first day I arrived in China since there were some adjustments and problems with our dormitory. It was a bit rough at first.
9. What were your major challenges during your stay in China?
Trizha: The odd thing about China is that, when it comes to the language, tones are usually taught to be followed, but a lot of Chinese people actually don’t pronounce the right tones, depending on the region. So at the beginning, it was really a struggle to understand what the locals were saying. Though after listening to a lot of records and podcasts, I was able to pick up the common speech patterns, and then things eventually got easier. Furthermore, speaking is also something that I still need to work on, and I guess finding a language partner might be a good way to improve my speaking skills.
10. How did the CI scholarship affect you in your life?
Trizha: Despite the fact that I come from a traditional Filipino-Chinese background, a lot of Chinese traditions, attitudes, behaviors and social concepts are completely alien to me. Also, as a student from Manila, I have always been fed information from the Western perspective, and it feels as if this made my worldview somehow skewed and narrow. Perhaps this ironic circumstance is unique to our country–the most Westernized of all Asian countries.
Trizha: Right now, I find myself delighted that I am slowly able to read Chinese texts. I’m continuously seeking out for ways to broaden my understanding of things.
11. What advice will you give to those who are also interested in the CI scholarship?
Trizha: It is a life-changing experience so grab the opportunity, you have got nothing to lose.
(More pictures below)