Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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Anthropology

Academics

A Path to Empowerment Along the Silk Road

Posted on April 15, 2011

Margaux Fisher ’12 writes to us about her Study Abroad Year in China:

“I’m a junior studying abroad in China for a year. I spent my fall semester in an SIT program at Yunnan Minorities University in Kunming. My classes were in English for the most part and included Chinese Culture and Ethnic Minorities Seminar, Field Study Seminar, and Intensive Mandarin. In between these lessons, I would also have a short break during which I would have Taiji lessons, which were in Mandarin. They were a great way to learn something more about Chinese culture while also blowing off some steam in between regular classes. I also completed an Independent Study Project at the end of the semester. For this project, I spent about a month in Lijiang doing research on tourism’s impact on the local Naxi community, particularly in consideration of identity, gender, and inequality. I managed to incorporate many of the ideas and readings I had learned in Anthropology classes back at Wheaton into my project and they were invaluable to how I built and supported the arguments in my final project."

"Of all my experiences, I think I learned the most from my month in Lijiang. I’ve always thought of myself as very independent and capable, but it was very empowering to actually learn to live in Lijiang on my own and to complete an independent project with limited guidance (particularly in a part of the country where Mandarin was so heavily accented as to be beyond my comprehension or just entirely absent). I gained a lot of confidence through this experience, both academically and personally. I look forward to another semester abroad abroad in Xi’an, with the Alliance for Global Education. I will be taking an Anthropology course on the Silk Road, a Chinese history class, and Mandarin, as well as completing a capstone project at the end of the semester.”

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