Alicia Schumann has always been fascinated with Asia, in fact, she has visited several countries in the region, but not China. When Alicia learned that her university in Germany, Hochschule Mainz – University of Applied Sciences had a partnership with the International Business School-Beijing Foreign Studies University (IBS-BFSU), she immediately applied for a spot to come to China.
From her favorite Chinese food, Jiaozi to finding the Chinese apps Didi and Baidu as her lifesavers, Alicia details her experiences and what it really means to study at IBS-BFSU in China.
Hi Alicia, please introduce yourself.
My name is Alicia, from Germany. I’m 22 years old, and an exchange student at IBS-BFSU. I came here at the end of August, and I’m staying until January. It’s my first time in China. I’ve been to Hong Kong before but not to mainland China, so I’m excited to spend the semester at BFSU.
Why did you choose to come to Beijing?
I’ve been interested in China for a long time. I’m especially curious about how China gained economic power so fast. I thought about learning Chinese and that it would be a smart move as a business student. This is the main reason why I came here.
In general, I also like Asia. I’ve traveled to many places in this region. I’ve been to Japan and planning to go to Korea and Singapore.
Why did u choose IBS-BFSU in China?
The university where I’m studying in Germany has a partnership with BFSU so it was easy to get the spot at BFSU. I applied to my university and they liaised with IBS. They arranged everything for me to come to China.
How did you find China when you first arrived at the Beijing International Airport?
I was overwhelmed. Beijing is a huge city. I was really happy because I love big cities. As for school, it is incredible. There are so many people from all over the world and from so many cultures. It’s interesting to get to know everyone and I gained many insights every day.
How do you find Beijing?
Beijing is diverse. The city has a perfectly balanced tradition and culture and modernity. I love this combination. The skyscrapers are just amazing in Beijing.
I recently went to Shanghai and it’s more of a mix of modern and Western. I prefer Beijing because of the cultural side of the city. There are many historical sites like the Forbidden City and ancient-old temples.
Do you think you need to know Chinese to come to Beijing?
No, I don’t think it’s necessary, but it can be very helpful. I didn’t speak a word of Chinese when I came to China and it was challenging. When you go out on the streets people don’t speak English but if you know a few words, you can get around easily.
Download mobile apps like Didi and Baidu. They can translate for you and you can get around fine. These apps will help you survive in China.
How are you getting around China?
It is very easy because I have the Didi and taxi app. The metro is also perfectly organized. I get around totally fine, without knowing much Chinese.
Do you think Beijing and China, in general, are safe?
I feel much safer in China than in Germany. Every corner has a camera. If you leave your purse or your wallet somewhere, people return it to you. No one steals, no one robs you, it’s really safe. I’m not scared of walking around alone at night.
What are you studying and how are the classes?
I’m studying International Business at IBS-BFSU. In my class, there are many international students. It is interesting because everyone comes from different backgrounds. Many are exchange students but there are also those who study full-time.
The classes at IBS-BFSU are so different. The teaching style is not the same in Germany as well. However, the class size is somewhat the same, like thirty people in a class.
In what way is it different?
At IBS-BFSU, it is more about theory as classes often focus on theoretical content. In Germany, the focus is on application. We talk more about case studies. This is just one difference. The economic side of things is also different.
What do you think about food in China?
I love Chinese food! It’s really good. I like all types of Chinese food, especially Jiaozi, that’s my favorite.
When I came to China, I didn’t know what it was going to be like. In Germany, people have a different perception of Chinese food.
What do you want to do in the future?
I want to study for a master’s degree. A Master’s in International Business or an MBA – that’s the plan. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m thinking of obtaining it in China because I like it here.
What would you say to other students who are interested in coming to China?
You absolutely have to come to China. It is an amazing experience. I’ve only had a wonderful time in China. I’ve gained many insights about Chinese culture and language, and people are nice and warm.
If you had to describe China or Beijing in one word, what would it be?
China is super fast! I’m fascinated by how fast China is.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
People from Europe expect China to be very different when it fact, it’s wonderful here. More people should be bold to come to China.
Open a world of possibilities, meet students from all parts of the world and experience world-class education at IBS-BSFU!
Search for programs at IBS-BFSU, or send your application to the Bachelors in International Business program through China Admissions. We have professional student counselors who are directly trained by some of the top universities in China. They will liaise with BFSU on your behalf.