Pre-departure Inflection

Jason Renner
August 13, 2017

Only 21 days separate me from finally being in Shanghai, China, to study abroad for an entire semester. To simply say I am anxious would not fully summarize my thoughts on the experience I am about to face. How can I know what I should feel or expect about this experience when there is so much uncertainty over what I will do, what I will learn and who I will spend my time with?

I chose to initially study abroad in China because I was looking for a unique study abroad program, one that would take me to a location I might not get the chance to return to. Additionally, the opportunity to study Chinese politics and economics was appealing to me given that I major in Political Science and that China has risen to global superpower status over the past few decades. While I certainly appreciate living in the country that I do, I’m ready to learn about what makes China so special and unique. I want to learn as much from the Chinese people as I do from the texts and lessons I will read and receive. With a national history that spans back several millennium (unlike America’s), it will be a great opportunity to learn about the rich history of China and learn how its culture and people have endured for so long while also maintaining a strong global presence.

There are many things that frighten me ahead of this trip. My inability to speak ANY mandarin is my chief concern. However, I welcome this dilemma as a chance to see what it is like to be truly foreign in every sense. Vulnerability like this, I believe, will teach me a lot about myself. I expect myself to change a lot from the experience I am about to embark on, and I’m glad I have been chosen to blog about my experience so I can try to capture the essence of my thoughts and my travels.

Though I will be studying in Shanghai, I intend to travel across China to see the nation in every possible form there is. As I travel and adventure from location to location, I know that I’m most excited to eat my way through the country and sample all the different styles of food that exists in China. From Xi’an, to Beijing, to Tibet, I hope to see it all. And long the way, I hope to find myself and learn more than I know now. Zaijian America. And as Rick Sanchez would say, “Peaceeeee OOOOOOOOOOT!”.

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Jason Renner

<p>I love storytelling because of the unique narrative style that each author has, be it through prose or poetry. In a time where understanding each other is of the utmost importance, you can usually learn the most about a person through their work and writing. I value my own distinctive voice, and I hope to share my experiences and convey the knowledge and wisdom I gain from my time abroad through a blog or another platform.</p>

2017 Fall
Home University:
Washington and Lee University
Political Science
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