March 10, 2017by Ryan Black
Megan Cornelius, a senior Accounting and MIS double major, is nearly two weeks into her semester at Beijing Jiaotong University (BJTU) in China.
Serving as a Student Ambassador for Saunders College of Business, she is working with Management Information Systems (MIS) students to set up a student government, as well as a protocol for establishing clubs on their campus. Concurrently, she is assisting students in understanding cultural differences and in practicing their English language skills.
Here’s an update from Cornelius on how her semester has been going:
Thus far, how has your work with Student Affairs been progressing?
“So far my work with Student Affairs has been progressing quite well. My schedule is very busy and I believe that I am helping the staff and the students. I have many upcoming projects and presentations. The work I am doing is challenging (which is why I enjoy it) and I am learning a lot from these experiences.”
As a Student Ambassador, what are some of the things you wish to accomplish by the end of your time at BJTU?
“I wish to accomplish MANY things by the end of my time at BJTU. First, I would like to help the English Debate Club improve their English and debate speaking skills. I would also like to assist various students in their English writing abilities. I will give presentations to many on what it is like to live and attend college in America. I want to encourage the students to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. I also hope to promote RIT Weihai through social media and word of mouth to encourage students at RIT to travel to RIT Weihai.”
Personally, what else do you hope to do during your time in China?
“Personally, I hope to be able to have a fluent conversation in Chinese with others at the school. I hope to feel confident enough with speaking Chinese to be able to travel around on my own. I also want to volunteer to assist the community in any way possible. Because I am adopted from China, a main goal of mine is to find an orphanage near me and volunteer in helping to renovate the building or provide the children with new clothing and diapers/bottles.”
What has it been like to work across languages, especially within a new culture? What has been rewarding? And what approaches have been most effective?
“Working across languages has been very interesting and, at times, frustrating. However, I find it very intriguing, especially when I am the bridge between two languages. For example, sometimes I am the bridge between some Russian students and Chinese students.”
Could you talk about learning Chinese, and in turn teaching BJTU students English?
“Learning Chinese is very difficult. Much harder than any class I have ever taken before, but I enjoy learning the language. I am not teaching English to BJTU students. I am a tutor for them, so I help them with their homework and pronunciation. When I teach the staff of Student Affairs, it is not a typical teaching method. Each lesson has a different topic. I teach them about this topic, mostly vocabulary words and fun activities to help them remember these words. There is a page on my blog called "Student Affairs." This is a journal of my daily activities with Student Affairs.”
Could you talk about campus life at BJTU, particularly the students/student groups you’ve met and worked with?
“The campus life is much like any campus. The students study very hard! Every day there is a break between 12pm and 2pm for the students and staff to eat lunch and have a rest. Everyone is very nice and willing to help. I have found that some students are shy about speaking English, so I must take initiative in introducing myself to these students and making sure they know not to be afraid of speaking with me. There is a track stadium very near to the dorms. I run there almost every day with a few Russian students and some of my coworkers. Most Chinese girls do not like to exercise; however, I am determined to get some of them interested in exercise. The international students are very open and want to meet and talk with the Chinese students to improve their Chinese speaking skills. The campus is very diverse and will only get more diverse. The dorms are like the dorms at RIT; however, the boys and girls are separated and can only hangout with one another in the lounge area or outside of the dorm building. I have really enjoyed my time here so far.”