I believe that my identity has changed since I came to Shanghai. I have always been known as the girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. Those who really know me, know that I am more than my physical characteristics. I love math and playing tennis. Those close to me know me as someone who is always making others laugh and cares sometimes too much about others. While in Shanghai I am still me, except I feel like I am a needle in a haystack. I stick out a like a sore thumb. Many don’t get to meet and understand who I am inside and out. They pass by me and see that I am a foreigner with bleach blonde hair.
In this environment, you learn who you are and it is about self-discovery. The perseverance at times can be tested, but when all else fails you have your support system to rely on. It is sometimes hard to realize that your loved ones are miles away and are 12 hours behind you. Figuring out a way to always make it work out is key. The things that are important in your lives are never the easy ones.
What’s To Come
This past week I have gone on several interviews for an internship. The program that I have been placed in allows us to have an internship that is 15 hours a week. Never would I have believed I would have an interview in which the interviewer does not speak the same language I speak. But that’s exactly what happened. On the bright side, I had a translator with me who would translate my conversation with my potential employer.
I am very excited to be learning more mandarin. Classes are starting up full swing and I am loving them. Most of them are about the history of China and how this country has gotten to where it is today. Back in the states, most of my courses are in math, it is hard to apply what you are learn in the classroom to your everyday life. That is until you get a real job. While the courses here that I am currently taking are applied immediately to my everyday life. They are opening my eyes to understand just how fast the metro system was made, and why certain cultural things are the way they are here in China. Hopefully by next week my internship will be finalized and I will be able to share all my new career experiences. This internship will show me how China conducts a normal work week, as well as their work etiquette.
This whole process reminds me of how big the world really is. Sometimes we can get caught up believing that we are the center of the world. Stepping outside the box and taking a trip to China has allowed me to put everything in perspective. It is however surprising how low the United States puts pressure on us to learn multiple languages and to be culturally aware. Coming to China has shown me how little I know about China and the rest of the world.