It's crazy to think that my Shanghai spring semester is almost over. It feels like just yesterday that we moved into our apartments in New Harbor. I wanted to spend my last couple of weekends in Shanghai with everyone on my program, and explore all the areas I have yet to see in Shanghai so sadly, my travels outside of Shanghai have come to an end, but I’m excited to continue checking a few things off on my travel list within Shanghai.
Thinking back on my time in Shanghai so far, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my weekends and semester than all that I’ve been able to see and accomplish so far. I have been so lucky to be able to travel outside China to Thailand and within China to many different provinces, including the Hunan, Guangxi, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang provinces. Although Shanghai has so much to offer on its own, I have loved getting a taste of other areas in China and expanding my understanding of different cultures, foods, and ways of life.
I can’t believe how fast the semester really flew by. Packing for my semester abroad, I was so nervous about all that was to come and didn’t know how I felt about being away from home, my family, and friends for so long. However, now that I’m here and my semester is coming to an end, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my junior year spring semester. Not only has this abroad semester given me a chance to improve my Chinese language abilities, it has also given me the ability to truly expand my acceptance of other cultures as well as allow myself to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace a whole new, better version of myself. Although I never saw myself as someone who would enjoy the hustle and bustle of living in the city, I have grown to love living in Shanghai and could definitely see myself returning to this wonderful hub of excitement and opportunity in the coming years.
Although I definitely didn’t get to visit all the amazing places that adorn my travel list, I feel that I was able to truly get a taste of China in the few months that I had here. Luckily, I don’t have to leave this city at the beginning of June like the rest of the kids on my program. Before leaving the States I decided to apply to the IES Abroad Summer Internship program. I figured that since I was already going to be in Shanghai and my semester program ended later than most of the internships I was looking at over winter break, I would give it a try! It worked out perfectly because my semester program ends June 8 in Hong Kong and my internship program starts June 9 back in Shanghai. So, although I only have a few days left of my semester, I’m preparing for the next eight weeks in Shanghai and don’t doubt that my next program will be just as exciting and rewarding as my semester program has been.
I can’t imagine spending my time here in Shanghai with anyone else besides the kids that were on my semester program, so it will be interesting to start over with a new group of people when my internship program starts. However, I’m excited to be able to share all the knowledge that I’ve learned during my semester with those who are unfamiliar with Shanghai and are trying to find their way around in the beginning of June. I can’t wait to see what my internship program has in hold, but for now, I’m enjoying my last few weeks of the semester and trying to stay cool as the weather is rapidly getting hotter and hotter every day.
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<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>