My two months in Dalian have come to an end and it really has been a whirlwind. From living in a Chinese family to taking a language pledge only to speak Chinese, I really believe that I made the most out of this opportunity.
For my first time visiting mainland China this program was an incredible opportunity to see what China is really like and a big reason for that was my host parents. They truly made me feel like I was a part of their family. I really got to see how a normal Chinese family lived and most importantly I was able to talk with them about their thoughts and opinions.
The intensive language learning aspect of the program was extremely difficult, but I went from not being comfortable saying hello, to having long conversations with taxi drivers.
All of the other times I have traveled I went from place to place taking pictures and “seeing the sites,” but this program couldn’t have been less like that. The best part of my trip wasn’t the pictures that I took, but instead the real experiences that I had with people. It allowed a glimpse into Chinese culture, but it also made me think about my own customs and upbringing.
From this experience I think I have become much more confident in my language abilities and I am much more willing to talk with strangers of different backgrounds. I also learned a lot about hard work because there was really no break from the homework or the tests. I was fortunate enough to make some great contacts in China like a VP of a large investment bank or a lady who said she would always have a job for me at her hostel. I believe it is these contacts that could help me find a job or an internship in China.
The biggest takeaway from this program is that there are many differences between Chinese and American culture, but there are many more similarities. Spending time talking and interacting with people with different backgrounds has helped me grow as a person. My experiences have definitely made me more interested in Chinese culture, history, language.
So I am all done for the blogs for the Summer, but I will be back in China in only a few weeks for a semester in Shanghai. Many more blogs to come. Thanks for reading.