Just as quickly as my trip to China started, it ended and my daily life rapidly moved on as if I’d never left. Friends and family remain the same but I feel so altered.
China was not my first choice of places to study abroad. I’d always wanted to spend a whole Spring semester trekking through Europe, seeing all the varying architecture and learning about its vast history. So when the opportunity to go to China came to me, I actually didn’t want to go. I thought I was settling on what I had envisioned for myself. But after I thought about it, I realized I was afraid: afraid of a culture so different from my own, afraid of the communication barriers, and afraid to try something new. So I spent months convincing myself that it would be worth it and that I would regret it if I didn’t go. I’m glad I stuck with the trip despite my doubts and worries. It will forever remain on my list of the best things I’ve ever done. I feel as if I could take on the whole world and I definitely have wanderlust now!
I feel a great sense of peace after going to China. I know while I was there I made mistakes but I feel like I’ve learned from them and I can appreciate what they taught me about people in general. The truth is, Westerners are not superior or inferior to non-Westerners. And really, Americans and Chinese are not so different at their core; we both have a great sense of resilience, which I respect immensely.
I’m not sure I have all the right words to explain what I learned in China so I guess I’ll stop trying but I can say with 100% certainty that I will return. It sounds mushy, but it’s true…a piece of my heart will always remain in China.