I can’t believe the program has come to a close. Not only have I been able to significantly improve on my Chinese language skills and travel to major historical sites around China, but I have also been able to make such wonderful friends that I will cherish forever. We ate together, went on trips together, sang annoying songs together, watched GoT together, and of course studied together. I wish I could 打包 dabao (take away and pack）this experience with me. I'm going to miss everyone!
This last week in Beijing was an emotional rollercoaster. All of us had to study hard in preparation for our last and final exam, leaving little room for fun. My friend Danielle and I did end up going to our local cat café to study though. When we needed a study break, my friend Ashanti and I went shopping at the Silk Market to shop for some souvenirs.
The day after we finished our exams, we had our graduation ceremony and Zhao Laoshi's son performed a song for us, such a sweet treat! After that, we went out for our final meal together and I had my third Peking duck in Beijing. We finally decided to go to KTV to spend our last night together, despite much resistance to go these past two months.
Saying goodbye sucks. But I’m glad that it happened and now I have an explosion of friends around the world! On my flight back home, I saw the most amazing views outside the airplane window.
It's going to be tough transitioning back to life at home. The slow suburban life in Maryland couldn't be more different from the bustling city life in Beijing, but I'm glad that I am back and reconnected with my family and friends. I'm also thankful that I can continue to practice my Chinese with my family and friends here in America. However, when I finally arrived home, I was most shocked to see my Chinese family speaking English to me in a perfect American accent. I feel so blessed to be able to be immersed in both my Chinese culture as well as my American culture. I learned so much about my identity and I can't wait to continue to explore this further throughout my life.
Beijing, I miss the convenience of everything, the deliciously cheap food, the endless history, the opportunities and the people. These two months have opened my eyes to China and I'm so grateful for this experience. Thank you IES Abroad Beijing for putting together such a wonderful summer for me!
再见北京！Zaijian Beijing! (Goodbye and see you again, Beijing!)