Audrey Beaumarchais is not your average college student. As a senior at Michigan State University, she is double majoring in International Relations (James Madison College) and Chinese with a minor in STEPPS (science technology environment and public policy). In addition to Audrey’s busy academic schedule, she has a passion for dance. Her unique interests have sparked great experiences for her at MSU. Her freshman year of college she joined the MSU Dance Team and she has also studied abroad in China. Read more about her college journey in our interview with her below.
“Why did you choose to study Chinese?”
“I have always been passionate about languages ever since I was young. I traveled to Europe in sixth grade with the People to People Student Ambassador program. We traveled to Italy, France, and Spain for five weeks during one summer. I attended private school from K-8th grade where I took Spanish classes. I continued taking Spanish and finished with Spanish four (the highest Spanish offered) my junior year. I also took German freshman year. That was an interesting experience, German first hour and Spanish second hour. I would sometimes mix up the languages causing my classmates and teachers to laugh. My senior year of high school I knew I wanted to continue learning new languages. We were able to dual enroll at a community college in my hometown. After some research I decided to take Chinese. I learned Chinese was the most spoken language in the world. I also knew about China’s growing economy and it’s position as a major trading partner of the United States. I thought this would be a great asset and compliment for what I wanted to study in college, International Relations. I had a great experience taking Chinese at Oakland Community College. When I was admitted to James Madison College here at MSU I learned that a degree requirement included taking two years of a foreign language. And so, I continued my Chinese studies here at MSU.”
“Describe your experience in China.”
“I went on a study abroad to China in the summer of 2013. I went with an MSU sponsored program and studied at the Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, China. During my three months there, I took language and cultural classes. During the trip I also was able to tour the capital city of Beijing, and the coastal city of Shanghai. I most enjoyed touring Shanghai. It reminds me of New York with obviously a Chinese twist. I learned Beijing was the cultural capital of China while Shanghai was the monetary/economic capital. During my time in China I experience pretty intense culture shock. When people ask about my experience over there I tell them it was very interesting. I grew a lot as a person. I think what made the culture shock so intense and so affective on me was the fact that I didn’t anticipate it because I never had had it before. I learned throughout my experiences there how to cope and became a stronger person.”
“Tell me about your experience being on the MSU Dance Team.”
“I have been dancing since I was three years old; making this year my 18th year dancing. Dance has been my literally been my life. My dad, mom, aunt, uncle, and grandpa all attended MSU. I used to accompany them all to football and basketball games when I was very young. I was a Spartan from birth and when choosing what college I wanted to go to, I had no hesitation choosing MSU. In my childhood room above my bed, I had a MSU Dance Team poster that my grandpa had given me. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to be a member when I was older. The fall of my freshman year here at MSU I got my chance. I auditioned for the team along with 70 other dancers for only two available spots. When I received the news in one of my JMC lectures I almost couldn’t contain my excitement. The next day I began my journey as an official member of the MSU Dance Team. As a member of the Dance Team, we have practices three days a week ranging from 2-3 hours per practice. We also participate in other events on campus and also athletic events, primarily men’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball. All in all, I am pretty busy with dance team commitments during the week. I love being able to represent MSU at all of these events but my favorite by far is on game day. For football season, while everyone else is tailgating we meet very early, sometimes even 4 hours before game time we meet to practice or perform at various tailgate appearances. Then we head over to Spartan Stadium, and every time I walk through the tunnel onto the field I am overwhelmed with happiness. The atmosphere in Spartan Stadium on game day is like no other and I am so thankful I am able to have the opportunity to dance and cheer on my Spartans at every home game. The same goes for basketball. The Breslin Center is also another one of my favorite places on game day for basketball. It is electrifying being on the court. Even though the atmosphere is different than football, I still love every second of it. It is amazing to watch Tom Izzo, one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history, coach. Some memories I will never forget as a member of the MSU Dance Team include, traveling and dancing at the 100th Rose Bowl Game in 2014 with a Spartan victory, traveling and dancing at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, where the Spartans were named Big Ten Champions, and traveling to nationals with my team to compete with others from across the nation. Overall, I feel honored to be able to contribute and be a part of MSU through my involvement as a member of the MSU Dance Team.”
“Anything else you’d like to add?”
“Aside from game days, one of my most favorite experiences as a member of the MSU dance team was performing and speaking at the international student pep rally. At this event, my Chinese studies and my dance team involvement were able to overlap creating an awesome experience.”
Audrey was interviewed by Mara Ohorodnik, a senior at Michigan State University and the communication intern for the Office for International Students and Scholars. She loves interacting with international students and learning about different cultures. She has studied abroad in Thailand and hopes to continue traveling around the world. Mara is in the college of Communication Arts and Sciences and is also specializing in Health Promotion at MSU.