Fortunately, I got the chance to live and study at University of Chicago during the summer of 2016. Although it was my first experience studying abroad, I enjoyed myself during such a fantastic summer time.
Chicago is located in Illinois in the middle part of the U.S. The city is built along Lake Michigan, the third largest city in the U.S. and a world-famous financial center. The city is centered around the Loop, extending north, south and west. On the Wendella boat trip, my friends and I saw the strong relationship between water and the city’s beautiful architecture. Our boat trip took us from the Chicago river to Lake Michigan. Passing in the shadow of skyscrapers, listening to the introduction of them, we were surprised to hear about the city’s planning and fast development after the Great Fire. We visited the famous Willis Tower, which used to be the highest tower in the world, and watched the city from late afternoon to dusk and on into the night. It was really charming to have such an view of the whole city from the top. On the last morning of our travel, we went to 57thbeach to see the sunrise. Dawn enveloped the whole city while the lake was tinted gold. We cheered when the sun rose, feeling proud to be in such a charming city. I strongly recommend Chicago’s various museums, the museum campus in both the Loop and the south one. The Field Museum taught me about human and nature and I also enjoyed the special exhibition of Chinese Terra-Cotta Warriors. The tremendous dinosaur model and fossils impressed me a lot. Several wonderful masterpieces are exhibited in Art Institute of Chicago. I was attracted by the Impressionist paintings. Visitors of different generations may experience the Museum of Science and Industry differently. For children and teenagers, they can learn a lot of basic knowledge of different fields through self-practice. For students of my age, studying the most advanced technologies helps me to broaden my horizons. For others, a visit to the MSI contributes to their life quality. My favorite items here are the transnational train model, showing America’s industrial power at that time and the Nazi Germany U-505 submarine, demonstrating the American spirit and pursuit of freedom.
The University of Chicago, internationally known as a top university, is such a historical university filled with youthful vigor. The university combines classical items with modern ones. The campus is filled with Gothic architecture, containing modern facilities and decoration inside. Greenery covers the campus, providing fresh air and a wonderful environment to people here. UChicago also enjoys a reputation for its heavy workload. We can see students working hard here; many of them sit in the central garden or on grass to have conversations; some students even discuss problems in the dining hall. The egg-like library, filled with the warm sunlight, has a really quiet environment, with only the sound of keyboard and handwriting breaking the silence.
I had chosen two courses for my study: Introduction to Money & Banking and Intensive English. The lovely and responsible teacher, Nick showed us an effective way to learn English: One will never get huge progress in English study until he or she is immersed in a pure English-speaking environment. Besides training in pronunciation and intonation, we were required to do several projects during our courses. The neighborhood project allowed us to get to know the history and culture of a neighborhood in Chicago. My teammate and I interviewed locals, explored the area, and searched for special foods or drinks during our trip to Bronzeville. I went to see the Bud Billiken Parade, a famous event throughout the city. The parade is known as the largest African-American activity in the country and is one of the city of Chicago's premier back-to-school events. I had never before seen a parade combined with schools, students and educators, and commercial and government sponsors. With food, BBQ, and several interesting events, the parade just looked like a party among residents. In our final presentation, our team focused on a current social problem in Chicago, with the reference of the local medias. We chose the “Great River Plan” as our theme and in our presentation offered our own perspective. I learned from the course that the true purpose of English study is to put our English skills into practice, maybe for the future use of graduate study or living in the English-speaking country. In the course Introduction to Money & Banking, Professor Kotaro taught us not only Macroeconomics but also how to analyze the current economic situation with the tools we had learned in class. Some UChicago students had also chosen the course. They were always willing to show their own opinions and felt free to interpret the teacher for asking questions, something hard for Chinese students to do initially. However, under their encouragement, we began to break our silence and took part in the class interaction. Thus our class came to develop a nice atmosphere.
The 3-week summer session was a little bit short, but it was enough for me to have an unforgettable experience: How to study at a top foreign university and how to explore a foreign city. I gained knowledge and, more importantly, learned a new study method and a dialectical thinking mode. I am so grateful that ShanghaiTech has offered me such a golden opportunity to take part in the UChicago summer session.
Miss you a lot, UC; Miss you a lot, Chicago; Miss you a lot, the U.S!
---By Li Zhenyang, School of Information Science and Technology