When did you graduate from UMN? With what degree?
I graduated in the Spring of 2013 with BS in accounting and minor in finance.
What did you do following graduation?
After graduation, I took a year off to attend the Chinese Bridge competition and study Chinese in China. After I came back to the US, I moved to New York City to take a position in audit at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Have you considered another degree?
Yes—my current role at PwC is very accounting/finance based, with little opportunity to use my Chinese skills. After having put so much time and effort into learning the language, I felt that it would be a waste to not put it to use. Getting an MBA degree will open additional career paths, and choosing an MBA program based in China or at least with a focus on China will hopefully allow me to incorporate this into my future career.
What did you like best about your experience in the Asian languages & literatures (ALL) department at the University of Minnesota?
I think that we have an exceptional Chinese program in the University's ALL department. From the dedication of the instructors to the innovative coursework, my time as a student in the ALL department helped me to develop a passion for learning Chinese and to eventually stand out from the other 130 competitors from around the world in the Chinese Bridge competition.
What advice would you have for undergraduate students of ALL? Graduates?
Be creative in thinking of ways to keep your language skills up. It doesn’t need to be a hassle; in fact, it can be quite fun. Speak Chinese with your Chinese friends, watch some Chinese movies, set up a Weibo account and post some funny videos—who knows, you could be the next Chinese internet sensation (网红!).
How do you keep your language skills up to date?
I try to incorporate Chinese into my life in any way possible. I watch Chinese TV shows, listen to Chinese music, talk to friends in China on WeChat, post in Chinese on Weibo, and I even speak Mandarin to my Chinese coworkers.
What books or blogs are you currently reading? Recommendations?
There is a foreigner that is quite famous on Weibo called 拂菻坊. His Chinese isn’t perfect, but he posts funny videos about his Chinese learning and study abroad experience. He has a huge following in China, and he has even made a career out of his blog and video posts. You can find him on Weibo or YouTube by searching "Fulinfang" or 拂菻坊.