It was my father’s suggestion that I should try to tackle a more challenging language, which first got me interested in learning Chinese. I had learned English, French and German in my high school in Italy, but I had been undecided what to study at university until I discovered a joint Chinese and English course at Sapienza University in Rome. At first, I found the script and the pronunciation very difficult, and it was not until I travelled to Beijing and Hangzhou as part of my course that I really began to make sense of the different characters and their meaning. Language learning in Italy tends to focus purely on the language itself and, because I had realised that I didn't want to work as a translator or an interpreter, I decided to find out about alternative options for using my language skills. In order to gain a wider understanding of other aspects of China–its culture; law; politics; society–it was a natural progression for me to come to study at SOAS, where I have been exposed to a wide range of different cultures and activities. I am now considering the possibility of remaining at SOAS to study for a PhD before finding a career that will allow me to spend time in both China and Europe.