It was really a fruitful exchange experience for me at the University of Pennsylvania and I have gained quite a lot from my courses, teachers and friends. The courses I elected there are Corporate Valuation, Investment Management, Statistical Inference, Negotiations and Japanese, all of which are of extremely high quality.
Corporate Valuation, for example, gave me opportunities to explore from the very basics to complex models of valuing a company. Working in a group to finish a project till 2 or 3 a.m. was a normal. Challenging as it is, I gained my first chance to finish a complete valuation project of Shake Shack, which I believe will be quite helpful when I break into the banking industry in the future.
Another unforgettable course is the Negotiations, where the professor led us to understand how to reach an agreement in the real life by playing different roles and practicing either prepared or impromptus negotiation cases with classmates. It was fun and useful, which is why almost every Wharton student would take this course before graduation.
Most importantly, exchange, for many students, means time to relax, explore new things and travel around, which is also true for me. During the four months, I travelled to many places around US, Chicago, Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, etc. Together with my friends, I enjoyed the Bill Gates’ favorite steak in Chicago (though quite expensive) , spent 2 days in one of the best and largest Disneyland in Orlando and even watched two NBA games including Lakers’ game. That was really terrific. Moreover, it was especially during those trips where I went with some foreign friends from Australia, Japan, London… when I could improve my language skills, both English and Japanese. Meanwhile, with firm relationships within each other, I know more about their culture and become more curious about their country. We even made plans to visit some friends together in the future.
When on campus, we ate together basically every day. “Swipes” in dining halls are quite expensive but you could literally eat everything for hours. Little restaurants around the campus are also quite famous among students. Thai food, Japanese La men, Chinese food, Mexican food like “Chipotle” gave us one of the happiest time before each meal----deciding which one to eat inside together. Sometimes, since we all lived on campus and big apartments with cooking equipment, we also gathered together and cooked for ourselves, after which we could play some little games like poker, pool, or drink a little(though not allowed for students under 21).
The courses, friends I made and activities I attended there have shaped me into a different person. The very thing that I learned there is a kind of attitude towards life— brave and optimistic. I was once so impressed by American and European students because they can always smile, be positive and enjoy every day no matter what happens. They are more than just learning knowledge but they’re also learning how to live and how to become a person with good relationships and living skills in the society. There will be many difficulties that I may encounter in the future but I will keep moving on and never lose my passion towards my life.
Apart from my personal developments, I also impacted some other people in several aspects. Academically, I am always the person many friends would turn to when they met academic problems that they couldn’t solve. I taught some friends some extracurricular activities like how to play poker and some basketball skills. We held birthday parties for students who had a birthday during the exchange period and we shared together our life experiences and encouraged someone who’s in negative feelings. Many friends said that I really brought a lot of happiness and positive attitudes to them and they even sent me some thankyou postcards and letters, at which I’m quite moved. I feel that my time there did make a difference for me and for some other people so it’s quite rewarding.
All in all, the exchange program in U Penn, I believe, is one of the best programs that CU has. Hence, just go for it and enjoy your time! Thanks for reading