I am home and adjusted to being back in Lafayette after a 3 week Maymester study-abroad trip to China! It’s hard to briefly sum up my experiences there but it was AMAZING! The class was titled “Child and Youth Development” and could be taken either for Human Development and Family Studies or Psychology credits, so our main focus was visiting kindergartens and primary schools, as well as universities with Early Childhood Education programs, and learning through observations and interactions with teachers and students about the education system in China. Many similarities exist between education in China and in the US, but some of the main things that are different in China are increased emphasis on group work at the pre-school and kindergarten level, the universal learning of a second language (usually English) in primary school through high school, and a very different system when it comes to preparation for and acceptance into college. I was part of a group which studied how the One-Child policy affects families and children, and it was interesting to learn about the history of the policy and how it has changed and recently relaxed quite a bit. And of course we did a lot of sight-seeing and touring, including visiting the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the beautiful Yangshuo countryside just to name a few. It was hard for me to be away from my family for that long, especially my son, Jack, but I had a great support system encouraging me and I am so glad that I did it; there is no way to learn in a classroom setting many of the lessons you can get from a trip like this, and as a senior here at Purdue graduating in December it was the perfect way to round out my last year and do something totally different. I believe this trip is going to be offered on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, so anyone who could use either a Psychology or an HDFS class and wants to go on an eye-opening and world-view-altering adventure should absolutely do it!
–Erin McConnell, Senior, Psychological Sciences