Arrival & Orientation
Beijing welcomed me with a shower of blessings. I’m not only referring to the heavy rain, but also the sheer number of greetings that I had received. I celebrated my birthday with our program’s office, met a family member’s friend, and have been warmly accepted as a new member of the CSI (Chinese Studies Institute) office.
Surprise Birthday Party
This year’s birthday has been the first birthday I have celebrated away from home. Prior to my departure, I thought of how lonely this year’s birthday would be. I was convinced that this night would be spent in my dorm, scrolling through my phone, and perhaps calling some family members. Rather than being left feeling homesick, the Chinese Studies Institute and the Emory Study Abroad Program surprised me with a small birthday party. It’s comforting to know that there are people who are willing to extend their arms toward you, a total stranger.
The Adjustment Period
Getting acquainted with a new lifestyle takes time. In the past few days, I have hectically run around to search for supermarkets near my school’s campus to purchase household essentials, frantically blurted out my orders for food at the fast-paced dining halls, and battled the jetlag that succeeded a 14-hour flight. According to one of my teachers, the best way to fight jetlag is to not take an afternoon nap following your flight! The bustling activities hardly gave me any break to take a nap within the first two days, so I followed that suggestion. The results? It helped a bit.
Classes began two days after my arrival, so I hardly caught a break. This summer, I am enrolled in two classes: a Chinese language course, and a Heritage of China course. My second class does not start until the fourth week of my summer program. Other students following my language + culture track follow the same schedule as I do. This week consisted of so much exploring – exploring shopping districts, a culture, different cuisine, lifestyle, daily schedule, etc. I also took care of practical living in Beijing errands, such as getting a Chinese phone number and opening a Chinese bank account!
Overall, I am extremely excited about what Beijing has to offer. Week 1 down, 6 more weeks of adventure to go!