Every now and then I like to take a break from everything and spend a day or two recharging, if you will. I have found that when studying abroad, it can be easy to get caught up in being in a new place with new friends doing new things. It can be easy to force yourself to be “on” all the time, because being abroad is loads of fun. However, it is equally important to remember that study abroad is typically not a short-term thing, compared to vacationing. Study abroad often spans months of time, and trying to be “on” continuously throughout that time can be tiring and unhealthy. It is for this reason that I gave myself a few days of “me” time last weekend.
Of course, mental health days are different for everyone, but when it comes to me, I personally like to stay at home and read, play games on my phone, maybe watch some tv. As an introvert, mental health days are usually pretty solitary, which suits me just fine!
Last weekend was a good time for me to take a mental health break because it was the first weekend back from our week away from China. After spending so much time in such close contact with my program mates, it was nice to have some time to myself. As a homestay, I am unused to spending so much time around my peers, so spending so much time with a large group of people is fun, but can be exhausting.
Anyways, this past Friday, IES Abroad took a field trip to a center where we spent the afternoon learning about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Kung Fu. After a short lecture about some of the basic theories of TCM, such as the fact that Chinese believe ailments are due to either internal or external imbalances (there are 6 possible internal ones and 7 possible external ones), some of the students on our program had the opportunity to experience first-hand some of the techniques. These included acupuncture, Gua Sha, fire cupping, and spinal realignment. Unfortunately, I was not quite aggressive enough in volunteering, so I did not get to experience any of the techniques, but all of the responses were very positive. If you are interested to know more about TCM, Wikipedia seems to have lots of information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_Chinese_medicine.
After our TCM lesson, we had a short lesson in 武術 (Wǔshù, another name for traditional martial arts, commonly known in the US as Kung Fu). We learned the 詠春 (Yǒng chūn) style, which is one of the only (if not the only) martial arts forms created by a woman. The assumption in using this form is that the user is weaker than her attacker, so it is much less about using physical power than it is about using strategic movements to defend oneself and then counterattack. For a one-hour class, I thought it was really informative, and made a lot of sense. Also, fun fact, Bruce Lee used this form of martial arts. Again, if you are interested in learning more, I suggest Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wing_Chun
Anyways, that’s all for now! Until next time!
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<p>Hello! My name is Katie McGee, and I am a junior at the University of Puget Sound, located in Tacoma, WA. I am a Chinese major with a Japanese minor and a Global Development Studies emphasis. I am a Chinese adoptee, and although my parents did their best to expose me to Chinese culture as a child, I grew up in a community with very little diversity. I have devoted this year to traveling East Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, Mainland China, and Japan) and improving my Chinese along the way. I have already learned so much during my travels, but continue to look forward to what adventures lay ahead.</p>