Achim hails from Berkeley, California but is well on his way to becoming a citizen of the world. Previous to his current year of study abroad in China, he had traveled in various countries: not just as a tourist, but in situations where he learned about other cultures (seminars in Eastern Europe and Israel, Legends of China “Silk Road to the Future” trip). “A sort of wanderlust seems the dominant theme of my life,” Achim writes.
Achim has been involved in all kinds of sports (including rowing crew) and youth group activities. His foreign language background before college was in Latin and Hebrew (with exposure through family to a number of other languages) – after the first trip to China, Achim became determined to add Mandarin. His study of Chinese has been “by far the greatest academic challenge” that he has ever faced. He now has a major in Cognitive Science and a minor in Chinese Studies.
At Beijing Normal University Achim spent the summer in an intensive language program. The rest of the year he will be studying at Peking University in the proximity of the Summer Palace.
At UCSD Achim was a senator in ASUCSD (student government) for two years and acted as resident advisor in a freshman residence hall. In his free time, wherever he happens to be, he plays the piano and writes poetry and fiction. Finding pianos to play in China has been a challenge, but with a strong will there usually is a way. He listens to music while he writes. His descriptions of travel by train, bus, boat and bike, as well as long hikes along the Great Wall are not fiction; however, they sometimes approach poetry with their poignant or humorous insights. Check out www.xanga.com/Achim
There is a very personal connection to China for Achim. His older brother recently married a ballet dancer from Beijing; the couple resides in California and plans a traditional Chinese wedding for next year in Kunming. Achim traveled to Kunming in the south to meet his sister-in-law’s family and thus became the first “emissary” from the Lyon family. He believes that his gaining cultural knowledge and language fluency during his year in China will serve to enhance mutual understanding between the two families, and in a larger sense between the two countries.