Eight years ago, I sat behind a desk prepared to take my first Chinese language course. I could have never imagined that my teacher 袁老师 (Yuan Laoshi) and her lessons would encourage me to visit the country I learned so much about. Four programs, a dozen scholarship applications, and a few disappointments later, I finally had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream. Preparing for this opportunity had its ups and downs. For starters, I have worked so hard to get this far, that I could not believe it was finally happening. I wanted everything to go according to my plan and perfectly. But the funny thing is, when you want something to go perfectly, it does not always happen the way you would like.
For starters, I honestly went in thinking that studying abroad over the summer would not be so costly. After creating a budget with my study abroad advisor, I realized I needed to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Luckily, I was very familiar with the scholarship process because I have tried to study abroad in China before. But in the back my mind, all I could think about was what would happen if I did not receive any of those scholarships. By this time, I had already submitted my non-refundable participants fee, scheduled a physical, rescinded internship offers, and started telling everyone I would be in China over the summer. I could not afford to have those thoughts creeping in and out of my mind. But realistically, while planning this study abroad trip, not knowing the kind of funding I would receive until April or May was a little worrisome.
Then their was the waiting game. After getting my physical, shots, and planning certain logistics, I had to wait until my JW202 arrived. Being as anxious as I was, this process was not the most fun. I wanted to apply for my visa over spring break, because the Chinese consulate I had to go to was in Washington, D.C., which is a little far from where I go to school. Needless to say, that plan did not go accordingly. However, I was fortunate enough to have a family friend who lives in D.C. to apply for my visa on my behalf, as well as go and pick up my visa after it was processed.
Towards the end of my preparation journey of studying abroad, I had a brief moment where I considered not going. After receiving the program start dates in March, I looked at my university’s calendar and realized the start date for my study abroad program (May 10th) overlapped with my last day of school. Mentally, I was worried that going from the intensity of my junior year classes to the intensity of taking two engineering courses abroad was going be a lot for me to handle.
I was worried about funding, stressed (now that I look back, I was just stressing myself out), trying to prepare mentally, and confused. This process was not going as smoothly or perfectly as I thought it was going to go. But as cliché as it might sound, I learned a very valuable lesson through it all. Don't sweat the little things, be patient, don't worry about something that has not already happened, and have faith that everything will work out.
As I prepared to depart from my home a week ago. I thought of jumping on a plane after my last final to go and fulfill my dream. I think about eight years ago and the feeling I had when I just knew I wanted to go visit China. Thinking about my journey to get to this point, of the ups and downs—it all seems so trivial, as I boarded a plane to begin an experience of a lifetime.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>I enjoy reading novels, one of my favorite authors is James Patterson because of his ability to capture and keep the reader’s attention for the entirety of the novel. Currently, I am reading " Becoming", by former FLOTUS Michelle Obama. Her book is inspiring because of the authentic storytelling of Michelle Obama's life. Some of my other interests are Chinese language and culture. Chinese phrases are descriptive extended metaphors that are beautifully crafted. Throughout my matriculation in middle and high school, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to study Mandarin for 6 years. Some of my long-term goals are to become proficient in Chinese, understand the culture holistically, and travel extensively throughout China. This summer, I have an amazing opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai, China and start accomplishing these goals. Another one of my interest is cheerleading. I started cheerleading at the age of five years old. Cheerleading was my way of showing school spirit and staying actively engaged with my peers. I decided to retire from cheerleading prior to attending college, so I could focus on pursuing my college degree and other collegiate activities.</p>