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Amanda Mapes

My name is Amanda Mapes and I am a graduate student studying accountancy at Northern Illinois University. For fun, I like to compete in longboard races, binge-watch TV shows on Netflix, and bake cupcakes for people. In December 2018 I will graduate with my Master’s Degree in Accounting and complete the CPA exam before hopefully becoming an auditor at a large firm. The most important things to me as a student are studying to retain instead of memorizing for exams and being involved in campus activities such as Beta Alpha Psi.

Hear more directly from Amanda:

Any packing tips for future students? What did you pack and wish you wouldn’t have?

For students visiting multiple cities/countries during their trip, I will repeat what students already are hearing and say to PACK LIGHT. I felt I packed light by having only 7 outfits for my 11 days (1 business formal, 2 business casual, 2 smart casual, 2 casual) but was quite embarrassed when a friend of mine had to help me carry my luggage around the train station between cities. If at all possible, only take a carry-on bag. Plan to wash your clothes by hand (in case you do not like the laundry prices you come across) by packing Polyester-blends and other easy-to-dry materials. Avoid cotton, which takes forever to dry (especially if you are visiting a humid area, such as Beijing in May!). Also, I don’t recommend taking a tightly-packed bag, as you may find yourself accumulating items you’d like to take home even if you are like me and aren’t crazy about shopping.

I recommend planning to spend only 2/3 of your money because you never know what might come up. Since I visited 2 cities (Shanghai and Beijing), I planned to spend 1/3 of my allowance in each city and found myself discovering a couple extra tours and shows I wanted to take part in and still had enough to eat at the airport on the way home and save some Yuan for memories.

What are the company visits like? Did you have a favorite visit and what did you learn?

The company visits I assumed would be the driest part of the trip, some possibly even boring (sorry, just being honest!) BUT I was never bored, and found myself telling a friend every day that I was surprised about how much I genuinely enjoyed each visit and how interesting they actually were. Most of the presenters are familiar with presenting to business students and know what sort of information to present that will tie in with the classes we were taking (being a semester 1 transfer student, this was one of the first places in the “real world” I actually heard a lot of the vocabulary and concepts used I have been learning in school) and are more than happy to answer questions we had. A handful of our presenters were American, and it allowed us the opportunity to ask questions about things we were curious about without the fear that we would offend a Chinese-native.

What do you miss the most about being abroad?

The thing I miss the most about being abroad is how much I enjoyed the culture. I find myself daydreaming about just taking an evening walk down the streets of the Hutongs, surrounded by red lanterns and dancing to Katy Perry with people who I cannot even communicate verbally with. The second thing I miss are the friends I made. I don’t often feel attached to people I have only known for a couple weeks and assumed I wouldn’t during this trip, but this is not some regular old “summer camp” trip. I would be surprised if anyone came back without meeting at least one or two people who they really found a forever friend in.

If you have any questions email me at: Z1567910@students.niu.edu