Monica Kitt, at left, above, spent the past three summers in China: the first traveling around the country; the second in Beijing for an intensive language program; and the third in Shanghai for an internship and an intensive language program.
Tell us about yourself.
Since coming to Wake Forest, I’ve spent more of my summers in China than in the U.S. I’ve mastered chopsticks and know how to ask for them in Mandarin.
How have you changed the last four years?
I entered Wake Forest feeling really unsure of my interest in China. I took an intro course partly because my older brother was taking Chinese and really enjoyed it and partly because my dad spent all summer convincing me it was a good idea.
What was it like studying in China?
I spent three summers in China, standing out as a foreigner in ways that my classmates who traveled to Europe didn’t have to experience. I stumbled my way through taxi rides, craved Kraft mac and cheese, and really wanted my soft bed. My friends there would complain about “BCDs,” Bad China Days, when the foreign culture frustrated us to no end and all we wanted was to go back to the U.S.
What did you do in China?
I worked in Shanghai as an intern with Roth Capital Partners, a U.S.-based investment-banking firm. I was able to apply class lessons to my job responsibilities and better understand how the stock market worked. I also practiced my Chinese in a business setting, learning valuable and useful vocabulary that I wouldn’t have learned in class.
Did you conduct research while you were there?
I wrote my thesis on corruption in China among politicians and businessmen, and how the combination can result in massive scandals. To me, it really illustrated how much China is pushing to gain economic ground and how much globalization has pressured them to balance increasing performance with increasing international legal scrutiny.
What are your plans after graduation?
At this point, I can’t claim that I’m fully fluent in Chinese, and to capitalize on the last four years I’ve spent taking classes, I really need to continue to work on my language skills. I’m heading to Shanghai and enrolling in an intensive language program to improve my fluency.
What professor influenced you the most?
Associate professor Sheri Bridges led one of the most time-intensive courses I’ve ever taken and somehow still made the course enjoyable. Two years after taking her course, she still welcomes me into her office with a smile to get updates on my life. She never fails to be concerned about students’ academic and personal wellbeing. When I’m feeling crushed by my workload, it helps to remember that professors do care about us!
What was your favorite class?
In the last year, I participated in three courses with associate professor Pat Dickson. One of these courses was a management simulation program that involved running a company and competing against other teams in the class. We made decisions regarding investing in R&D, pricing products, planning marketing budgets, making plant and capacity improvements, and a slew of other picky decisions in an effort to beat out other classmates in a variety of performance measures.
What was your most rewarding extracurricular activity?
Joining Delta Zeta sorority was such a great experience. In addition to meeting a great group of girls that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, I had the chance to serve on our executive board and hold several other leadership positions. I found a great avenue to volunteer for Hit the Bricks, Project Pumpkin and D.E.S.K., and also raise money for our own philanthropies. On top of that, I had countless nights laughing and goofing around with some of my best friends.
What’s your favorite memory of the last four years?
Monday nights are TV nights at my apartment. A bunch of my sorority sisters come over for cheesy TV shows and late-night snacking. It makes for a great way to relax at the beginning of the week.