Spring 2014: After Shanghai

Natalie Lau
June 16, 2014

It’s been a week since the program ended and I’m sitting at my gate at Seoul Incheon International Airport. Being home is so far yet so far away. I’ve seen a change in the people traveling around me. From Shanghai, all asians. Now, at this gate, I’m seeing more people like me. It’s the sense of familiarity that’s making me anxious.

I still have an hour and a half till boarding. I’ve been able to reflect a bit more this past week. I had very few opportunities to get on the Internet. It was a curse disguised as a blessing. I didn’t just sit around on my computer all day, focused on what’s going on in the cyber community. I was able to do a lot more reflection. I really think I’ve grown a lot this past semester. Being in Shanghai allowed me to explore who I am and come to appreciate the gifts I have.

This semester was also an unforgettable experience that will live forever in my heart and mind. I had a new family that I could lean on. My friends are the best and were as supportive as they could be. I’m so excited to be seeing them at a reunion we’ve planned for later this year. Secondly, my host family has become a second family to me. I moved out of their place last Saturday and stayed elsewhere for a week just to get some space and alone time. But the night that I moved out, my host family, 伯伯 and 阿姨, called me up just to see how I had settled in. It was a really nice gesture and I really appreciated it. Then the following Tuesday, I actually returned to my host family for dinner. It was such a pleasant dinner and I was glad I was able to spend one last time with them (for the time being). They truly are wonderful people.

Here’s my wonderful host family. I’m so grateful to have been a part of their family for the past four months. I will continue to keep in touch with them.

Our friends spent a lot of time together in our last week. We were aware of the count down and did not let what little time we had left prevent us from having the time of our lives.

On our last Monday together, we had a huge dinner celebration and ate amazing burgers at Blue Frog!

On our last day of our program, we had a farewell dinner and here are a few photos from our last night together in addition to the delicious food we had!

Our Chinese 401 class. We really bonded this past semester and thanks to 张老师 we have learned so much about the Chinese language and culture.

Dessert first! These sweet pastries were so cute!

Guess what this dish is. It’s pumpkin. Who knew that pumpkin could be served like this!

Here are some of the guys in our program. Since there were only 19 of us, a lot of us got really close. I’m confident we’ll all keep in touch!

These are two of my three best friends from the program. We’ll all be seeing each other soon so we’re not sad that we’re leaving each other!


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Natalie Lau

<p><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);">Aloha! Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Natalie Lau currently attends Villanova University in Pennsylvania. She is a sophomore pursuing a double major in Finance and International Business and a minor in Chinese Studies. Natalie loves playing the cello, tap dancing, singing, photography, swimming, and (of course) hanging out at the beach. Studying abroad in Shanghai, China has been Natalie&#39;s long time goal and she is so excited for this wonderful opportunity to fully immerse herself in to Chinese culture. Her goals during this semester abroad is to attain a high level of fluency in Mandarin and grasp a better understanding of the Chinese business culture. She is extremely excited to experience a new learning environment and create new relationships!</span></p>

2014 Spring
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