Now it’s when you feel your experience is coming to and end. On the one hand you feel happy because soon you’ll get to meet your family and friends, and it’s Christmas time, so that makes it even more sugary. On the other hand, there’s the BIG question mark at the end of this whole exciting experience. Well, I know I have to graduate and all that stuff, but what’s next? One starts thinking of so many things, so many opportunities… Maybe Grad School? Volunteering abroad? Gap year? Find a job? Masters degree… In what?
I’m not going to say I already know what I want to do when I graduate, but this experience in China gave me a lot to think about and it definitely cleared up a lot of my doubts about what I want my future to look like—academically and professionally. I’m now sure about being back in China in the future (maybe next year?) and find a job Chinese language-related. You know, before coming here I of course liked Chinese language and its culture, but experiencing it on site made me realize this 4-year effort paid off. And that’s something I actually don’t want to simply throw out the window. I have always said my relationship with Chinese was a love-hate one. Sometimes you love it because it can make you feel so proud of yourself when you actually feel you’ve made some progress, you can understand and talk more and everything becomes smoother. Some other times you hate it because it’s so hard and oh-I-don’t-know-how-to-write-this-very-simple-character-again! Or somebody talks to you and you’re like “Why did I choose such a complicated language?” or there are cultural shocks and misunderstandings.
Well, I’m actually very proud to say I’ve had much more LOVE for Chinese flowing in my experience here. With its ups and downs, I feel I’ve improved my overall Chinese language skills, of course I still got a long way to go, but this was only the beginning. Yesterday IES Abroad Beijing alumni came to visit us and that gave me so much motivation to keep fighting for my dreams. I really liked something they said about distance. Of course, everyone has ups and downs, sometimes you miss home and feeling homesick is not a nice feeling, you can just think about coming back home, and how nice being home is. But actually, sometimes one has to make decisions that will be indeed life changing. I’ll most likely be coming back to China soon, and it’s going to be hard to say good-bye again, start a new life again… But that’s why I think it’s the best thing for me. I really want to become proficient at Chinese, keep experiencing this fascinating culture, making friends and feel I’m a foreigner here.
Why that? —You might wonder. Well, I enjoy challenging myself, feeling a stranger to so many people, vanish in the crowds and then finding myself again. Though it’s not easy. I’ve had my lonely moments here while being surrounded my so many people and friends; nobody said it was easy. But again, this is one of the things living in Beijing has taught me: to become stronger when you think you can’t be strong anymore, to try to find the bright side of things even if you think it’s hard, to learn how to miss your family and friends, cause you’ll always miss them no matter how close or far they are.
Yes, I can’t believe this is coming to an end, I really wish I could stay longer.
For the moment, just know that I’ll keep you updated about some of my last adventures here, my trip to Qingdao and some anecdotes.
Thanks so much for reading my posts again,
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Alejandra Sola Ávila
<div>21, from Southern Spain. Translation and Interpreting student in University of Granada.</div>
<div>Now IES Abroad student. Currently living in Beijing and studying in Bei Wai University. </div>
<div>Passionate about books, poetry, cinema, good music and travelling. I believe I was born to travel the world while helping others.</div>
<div>'Not all who wander are lost'.</div>