Trying to summarize a semester abroad in a few short paragraphs is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. There are so many stories to tell, food to describe, places to summarize, and had to have been there moments that I can’t even put in to words. The memories I have made are unforgettable and the people that I have met along my journey are some that I will keep close for the rest of my life.
Traveling back to early August I remember thinking just how nervous I was to be studying abroad. I knew that China would be a great experience and one that I shouldn’t take for granted because not many people are as fortunate as I am. However, I remember telling myself that it would be great, it would fly by, and then I would be reunited with my family and friends in no time. I remember thinking that I couldn’t wait to get home before it even started because I would be missing family, friends, and life at Wooster. Little did I know but I was exactly right, the time absolutely flew by. One minute I was arriving in Beijing on a hot a sweaty August afternoon and in what seems like a blink of an eye I was headed to the airport conversing with my cab driver in Chinese and wishing I had more time left.
Here I am sitting on my couch in the comfort of my sweatpants soaking in all the Christmas cheer and writing my last post. I wish I could go back and tell myself not to will time to fly by because the memories you make while abroad are truly once in a lifetime. The environment that study abroad provides for a college student is perfect. Through study abroad I was able to become more independent, develop language skills, survival skills, a bit more common sense, see the world, read public transportation schedules, laugh, cook, laugh, smile, become an amateur photographer, and gain massive insight in to a completely different culture.
Being abroad I faced a lot of major changes in my life which changed me for the better and in ways that I can’t even describe. I can honestly say that I am a lot more independent than before and in some ways that can be frustrating. Currently I am in this mode where I feel like I don’t need help from anyone because if I can do it abroad by myself I can do it in a country where I am fluent in the language. However, I promise to transition out of this sassy phase soon. I also have a new found wanderlust and a strange realization that my instagram game will never be as on point as it was while I was abroad. I am able to say that I survived five months of squatty potties, being surrounded by chain smokers, air pollution, public transportation, babies without diapers, tons of rice, language barriers, and spitting. Although some of those China characteristics above seem disgusting they ultimately helped to shape my one of a kind China experiences. The lack of glamor helped to make natural wonders in Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Xi’an, TianJin, Beijing, and Shanghai all the more meaningful. Some of the key highlights of my trip include riding a yak, river crossings, camping, hiking, camel riding, fish baths, street food, friendship, Chinese class shenanigans, XiabuXiabu, cooking dinner for my Chinese roommate, language barriers, and Chinese music.
Words can’t describe just how thankful I am for this experience. Since I’ve been home I can’t stop talking about my adventures and I apologize in advance if you catch me starting a conversation with “That one time in Beijing…..,” just be patient with me! Thank you for all the love and support along the way. The constant outpouring of love through cards, emails, social media, and phone calls helped to make my experience even better. A special shout out to my parents. Thank you for always keeping me honest, keeping me inline, being the greatest parents a girl could ask for, and party rocking.
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">"Hello, My name is Molly Laubernds. I am a Michigan native, Detroit enthusiast, Political Science major, college swimmer, and an adventure seeker. I am an only child but I grew up in a big Italian family where the louder you are the more your voice is heard. My family has always stressed the importance of being the best version of yourself that you can be. Through traveling and experiencing other cultures I believe that I will gain patience, understanding, and knowledge that is necessary to become a better person. I can't wait to learn and grow while immersing myself in the Chinese culture. "</span></div>