Back from Hong Kong

Lexi Kelley
June 16, 2018

After a week of exploring Hong Kong and getting to spend my last week with the students from my Economy, Business, and Society spring semester program, I’m back in Shanghai! Although Hong Kong was beautiful and full of new adventures and memories, I have grown to call Shanghai my home and am so happy to be back and settled into my new apartment (which is just across the hall from the apartment I lived in last semester). Leaving my home in New Hampshire at the end of February, I was so worried about coming to a new, foreign place and leaving behind the life and daily routines that I was comfortable with. When I came to Shanghai, I had to start over. I didn’t know my way around the city, I wasn’t fluent in the language, I didn’t have my car, my friends, my family, or my home, however, after living in Shanghai for the past three months, my sentiments have definitely changed. I have grown to love the unexpected, the frenzy of scooters and mopeds darting through the streets, the loud noises of the busy streets, the shouting of Chinese; the craziness of what is China. I never thought I would be sad at the thought of having to book my flight home to America at the end of August, but as the saying goes “home is where the heart is” and Shanghai definitely has my heart.

Although saying goodbye to everyone from the semester was extremely hard, I couldn’t wait to meet everyone from my summer internship program. I didn’t know how to feel about having to start all over again with a new group of people, new classes, and start an internship, but I was up for the challenge. The kids on my program couldn’t be nicer! I live with three girls who go to Lehigh (Lafayette’s biggest rival, but I put that tidbit of information aside for the time being) and one girl who attends the University of South Carolina. Although everyone only just arrived on Saturday, June 9, I already feel like we’ve known each other for much longer.

As I said in my last blog, I couldn’t wait to share my love of Shanghai with a new group of people and help them navigate around, try new foods, and see as much of Shanghai as possible. I was able to show them the metro, People’s Park, and a few of my favorite restaurants during the first weekend here to help them get oriented with the surrounding neighborhood area.

As Tuesday rolled around, we started our first Chinese class. Before our internships start on June 25, we have two weeks of Chinese classes Monday-Thursday for six and a half hours a day. You may ask, six and a half hours? That sounds like a lot! And it is, but it’s amazing how much you can learn when you really carve out the time to do so. I moved up a Chinese level from my spring semester so now I’m in Chinese 401 with five other students on my program. Our class starts at 9:00am and goes until 12:00pm with a fifteen-minute 休息 (xiūxí, rest) every hour. We take a break for lunch and reconvene at 1:30pm for class, which runs until 5:00pm. Although it definitely is a long day and my brain is exhausted after focusing, speaking, reading, writing, and listening for such a long time, our 老师 (lǎoshī, teacher) makes the class engaging, exciting, and relevant to our daily lives. I’m looking forward to seeing how much I continue to improve in these next couple of weeks and can’t wait to start my internship and see what that has in store for me.

Once we start our internships we only have Chinese class once a week, but hopefully I’ll still be able to continue to speak with others on my program, my Chinese language partner, new Chinese friends that I hope to meet, as well as my boss and my coworkers. Although this summer program is definitely different than my semester program, I am so happy that I stayed in Shanghai and can’t wait to continue living in this awesome place with such great people who I hope will turn into life-long friends!

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Lexi Kelley

<p>Ever since I was a child, my life has always been linked to helping other people. I founded Kids Helping Kids when I was in sixth grade after I was in a serious car accident. While in the hospital, I heavily relied on the support of my friends and family as I had recovered. As I reflected on my accident and the serious injuries I had suffered, I saw the incredible power that I was shown as everyone came together to help me heal. The idea to start KHK was inspired by the small acts of kindness I witnessed from so many. I was so moved by the generosity of my peers that I wanted to harness that energy and share it with others, who may not have the same access to support. Kids Helping Kids has changed the way I view the world and others around me. I love volunteering because of the experiences and lessons I gain. It has shown me the power I have to make a difference in another person's life, and the impact that the people we serve have on my life.</p>

2018 Spring, 2018 Summer 1, 2018 Summer 2
Home University:
Lafayette College
Gilford, NH
International Affairs
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