T-Minus 14 Days Until Blast Off – Shanghai Spring 2018

Lexi Kelley
February 13, 2018
Hong Kong in August 2015

Hi! My name is Lexi Kelley and I’m a junior at Lafayette College. I’m pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs with a minor in Mandarin Chinese and I’ll be studying in Shanghai this semester through the Shanghai - Economy, Business & Society - Spring 2018 program! I just received my housing assignment and I will be living in an apartment with three other roommates. We’re living in the New Harbor Service Apartments that are located in between the People’s Square Residential District, Jinling East Road Residential District, and the Yuyuan Garden Residential District. After living in the suburbs of Connecticut and New Hampshire, I am excited to experience the liveliness of Shanghai and live in the heart of the city. I’m taking an assortment of classes in religion, business, sociology, and anthropology, as well as Chinese, of course.

New Harbor Service Apartments Location

Being born in Singapore and living in Hong Kong as a child, I can’t wait to go back to Asia at an age where I can truly embrace and remember my experiences, apart from the photos that adorn pretty much every wall in my house. I chose to study in Shanghai because I hope to really increase my language skills and fluency and understand that nothing can supplement the learning that occurs when living abroad, immersed in the culture. I’m really excited to make my way into endless street markets, practice my bargaining skills in Chinese, and finagle my way into unexplored alleyways and cool “path less traveled” areas of China.

As I board the plane at the end of February, my twenty-two hour flight will mark the beginning of my journey! I am counting down the days until I leave trying to check off tasks on my to-do list (a to-do list that seems never-ending). Despite all the things I need to get done before I depart, I can’t wait to step off the plane and embark on a semester of a lifetime. I know that no matter how many things I forgot to pack or wished I had with me, all I really need is myself, a positive attitude, sense of adventure, and a passport (some spending money would be good too) in order to enjoy all that this upcoming semester has to offer. As I try to bargain with myself about which three of my twelve favorite shirts I should pack or how many shoes are truly too many shoes, I try to remind myself that once I’m over there I’m sure I will not even remember how many times I packed and repacked my suitcase.

Coming from a family of avid travelers, I’m lucky that I have some previous experience of traveling under my belt, but I’ve never packed for a whole four months abroad. Packing for college is tough, sure, but I knew that I could always ask my mom to ship something to me, order it on Amazon Prime, or wait until the next time I was going home for some school break. However, it’s a little intimidating knowing that I might not be able to find my size shoes abroad, my favorite shampoo and conditioner, or even something as simple as a EOS chapstick and having any of these essentials shipped from home does not make sense! Despite this, I believe that my passion for travel, international relations, and language will allow me to truly embrace the semester ahead of me and allow me to tackle all the unexpected challenges and excitements ahead! I’m sure I’ll be able to make due with a limited assortment of shoes, find a new shampoo and conditioner that will do just find, and if my lips get chapped, so be it. When I boil it all down to the essentials, I understand the necessity of gathering a worldview and being okay with leaving the comfort of my home on the East Coast behind and capitalizing on the chance to travel and see a new part of this great expansive world that we live in!

Some of my study abroad bucket list places I hope to visit abroad:

  1. The Longji Rice Terraced Fields in Guilin
  2. Nanxun Ancient Water Town in the Zhejiang Province
  3. Fragrant Hills Park in Beijing
  4. Gongyu Bei in Xianju County
  5. Kaiping Diaolou and Villages in the Guangdong province
  6. Return to the Great Wall of China in Beijing

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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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