Emily Seratch ’19 is a senior international business major with a concentration in finance. She spent her fall 2017 semester abroad in Dalian, China.
Studying abroad in China provides some challenges for phone addicts: social media is blocked. In addition to a lack of social media, all information sharers including Google and YouTube are blocked in China. In short, living in China means living disconnected. But don’t worry – it’s all a part of the experience!
To stay in touch with family and friends, Emily downloaded the app, WeChat. WeChat is all the social media platforms you can imagine – Instagram, Venmo, Facebook, etc., rolled into one. It is the major way to keep in touch in China. Not having WeChat is not an option if you want to make connections in your new host country.
Buying a virtual private network (VPN) was also an essential for Emily. In China, a free VPN app download will not make the cut if you want to stay connected to social media and even Google.
Living disconnected can be a challenge. Bad Wi-Fi and VPN connections can be frustrating and something new could be blocked without notice. Even so, living unplugged was a huge part of the experience of being in China and helped Emily to meet new people, get involved on campus, and improve her skills with playing cards. She wouldn’t trade her experience for anything!
*Click on the hyperlinks above to read Emily’s original blog published by BCA Study Abroad on October 19, 2017. Since Emily studied abroad, BCA discontinued the Dalian program. Please consult our list of affiliated, semester-long programs to review our current opportunities.
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