I never imaged myself studying abroad; I saw it as something reserved for the rich. I want to thank the Fund for Education Abroad for helping me go on this journey and for helping me ascend to the person that I am today. I was able to gain real-world language experience in an environment where my schooling was put to the test. I enhanced my intercultural competence, which is a vital skill as competition for jobs and resources becomes more global. The benefits of studying abroad far outweighed the barriers and drawbacks that I worried about.
It was a great decision. Studying abroad is something that I think all students should strive to experience. My time in China was not always fun. There were times when I had to overcome not only the language barrier but also my mental health, my physical health, cultural differences, and many other hurdles that can be encountered while in a foreign country. Through practice, I learned more about my weaknesses while also actively working through them. I learned how much I genuinely love traveling and experiencing different cultures and how much I love meeting new people. This has led me to strive to visit other countries and increase my global education. I have met people from all corners of the earth, and I have heard their stories. The friendships that I made over the last two months have been some of the best that I’ve ever made, and I am working to maintain them while at home.
Home Sweet Home
I love the United States and all of the quirks that come with being an American. It was self-evident before I left the US, but it took me leaving to realize it. It was a hot Georgia’s day when I returned home, and that sweet, sweet Georgia air greeted me. The sky was clear, and the sun was unyielding. Just like I remembered it. I returned to my home that had central air conditioning, and I drank water from the water dispenser on my fridge. It was delicious. China was great, but I was so happy to be home.
The Future is Bright
Being in China helped me realize that I can live abroad and live a functional, happy life on my own. I can also live within a different culture and adapt in a way that allows understanding and acceptance. This trip helped me prepare for my Peace Corps service, and it has made me even more excited about it.
I am looking forward to my future, and I know that it will be great. I will use the skills that I developed in China to expand my professional career and continually better myself.