Reflection by Ben Song - UO

Ben Song is an alum of the Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 program:

            The Chinese Flagship Program was a lifetime opportunity and experience that resonated with me throughout my college career. It allowed me to rediscover and relearn my roots through classes and cultural interactions. Learning biology topics in Chinese was definitely interesting, but difficult. I was lucky enough to have met a professor who was willing to provide me a research opportunity in his laboratory only if I score a 90% or above on his tests. I understood that if I got into this research lab early on, it would mean that I would potentially secure an internship during the Flagship program’s internship phase. This motivated me to spend most of my time during nights and weekends reviewing various biology terms and concepts (genetic, molecular, pharmaceutic, medical) in both English and Chinese alone. It also encouraged me to maintain academically focused along with Flagship classes, and time manage between other endeavors. I was fortunate to have achieved my goals, and landed my internship position very early on in my Nanjing journey.

            My internship started in a Nanjing University biology lab focusing on fatty liver disease in patients. Then, it expanded to co-interning at Nanjing’s Drum Tower (Gulou) Hospital, which has a partnership with Nanjing University. Soon, I found myself incorporating the results found in the university lab into the hospital’s therapy plan refinement for international and native patients. I was given tasks like interpreting, analyzing and presenting different pharmaceutical research; as well as utilizing different Western Blot techniques to assess different protein and antibody levels in given specimens. In addition, I was invited to attend conferences about potential future cutting-edge research on curing liver disease/tumorigenesis. Interacting everyday with Chinese co-workers was a great way to further understand the work ethics, dynamics, and cultures in China. They were my mentors during the four months of my internship, and now we’ve been friends keeping in contact for more than two years.

            In conclusion, not many people will have the opportunity to study abroad during their lifetime with scholarships. No matter what one’s goal is, it’s definitely worth taking advantage and experiencing all the resources the Chinese Flagship program provides. During these years in the Chinese Flagship program, the amount of literature/language/cultural classes I took not only broaden my knowledge outside of science, but also gave me the chance to obtain both a bachelor of art and bachelor of science dual degree after graduation. Studying a year abroad also solidified my interest in pursuing medicine and pharmaceutics; hence, here I am pursuing my Doctorate of Pharmacy degree at Oregon State/Oregon Health & Science University. I hope this program will keep thriving, and continue to develop great professionals for the future.