Aram Mashigian - 2013 Program Participant

A view of the city and part of the Oriental Pearl Tower
A view of the city and part of the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Why did you choose ISA?

I chose ISA over other study abroad programs because of their course offerings, program length, and last but not least: their affordability.

What advice would you give to other students about to study abroad in Shanghai?

I would advise other students going to study abroad in Shanghai to become as immersed in the culture as they possibly can. Make friends, meet and go out with locals, practice the language, adopt their customs, eat their food (not McDonald's, KFC, or Pizza Hut), and essentially feel what it's really like to live and breathe Shanghai.

What makes Shanghai standout from other potential study abroad locations in China?

Having visited other parts of China like Beijing and the Jilin province, I would definitely say that Shanghai was the best place to study abroad because there are always different things to try and new places to explore. It's the perfect combination of Chinese tradition and modernization. In the same day, you can see historic temples that have been around for centuries and some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. 

During your time in Shanghai, what course was your favorite?

I took two courses: International Finance in China and Beginning Mandarin. I can't pick a favorite between the two because I really loved both courses and the professors (especially the professors).

In the International Finance course, I learned a lot of valuable information about the stock market and the way China's government worked. During every lecture our professor would discuss something that would blow my mind.

In the Beginning Mandarin course (you guessed it), I learned the basics of Mandarin. I can't even begin to explain to you how much fun we had during lecture, and I'm amazed at how much our brilliant professor was able to teach us in the allotted time. Before the program was even halfway through, my classmates and I were able to hold basic conversations with locals.

Looking back, how has study abroad affected your life?

Study abroad has impacted my life in a number of ways. It showed me what it's like to attend a university in another country. It showed me what it's like to live with people of a different culture. It showed me what it's like to explore parts of the world that I've never seen before. George Santayana wrote: "A child educated only at school is an uneducated child." Study abroad has educated me in ways that traditional schooling can't. I learned about life.