That's right, my first adventure is to the one and only People's Republic of China. You may be asking yourself, "why is this 20 year old girl spending her summer in China?" Well that's exactly what I'm going to tell you.
As I said in my previous post I am minoring in Chinese. It is my ultimate goal to eventually become fluent in Mandarin. Why? Well, I am a firm believer that everyone, especially Americans, should learn more than just their native language. Learning different languages gives one a unique glimpse into the culture, history, and customs of a nation separate from ones own country. Not to mention the ability to communicate and learn in alternate ways is very useful. Plus, being fluent in a different language is an extremely marketable skill these days. And as a soon to be college graduate, I am hoping to use my language skills as my "golden ticket" into the job force.
So, that is why I've decided to go to China. Now onto the how.
Well, I heard from a friend who is studying Russian how incredible language immersion programs are and how much they help in becoming fluent. So, I began looking online and at my school study abroad fair for good and successful immersion programs. I found several, most within the United States, but they were incredibly expensive for just spending a summer in the United States and didn't offer me the same cultural experience I was hoping for. Then at one of my school study abroad fairs I met several representatives from a program called CET Academic Programs. I grabbed a flyer and added to my pile of other flyers from programs offering "amazing, life-changing, splendiferous" programs and carried on. Several months later, I stumbled upon CET's website (link above). It was after spending a ridiculously long time scouring their website that I decided this was the program for me. Not only did they offer full language immersion (I have to sign an honor pledge saying I will only speak Chinese and everything), but it also gave me cultural experience by living in the country for two months. I mean, what better way to understand a country then by actually living and learning there? Not to mention it was actually less expensive than some of the in-state programs I had looked at. So that was it. I was sold. And after some very careful and strategic discussions with my lovely parents (usually involving various themes on the job opportunities it would give me and "how can I tell employers my concentration is on China if I've never actually been to the country") I began the application process, which there is no need for me to go through because it's boring, but ultimately (and obviously) I was accepted to the program! And after the grueling, headache inducing process of getting my Visa and making sure all the other paperwork was in order. I was officially ready to go!
However, unbeknownst to me, going to China has long been on my Dad's bucket list. It's thanks to him that I have such an overwhelming desire to travel and traverse all corners of the earth, which my wonderful Mom doesn't understand at all. And when it became official that this was going to happen, he started to explore some way that he could come with me. That is when we decided that a little over a week before my language program officially started we'd do our own tour of China. I see it as kind of a preview of the adventures I'll have during the 2 months I'm here. So that's where we are now. Sitting in the airport waiting to embark on our trek across China.
Well, that's all for now. I will have another post up in a couple days when I'm finally in China (aaahhh! I'm still in the "I can't believe this is actually happening" phase). But until then, here is a little quote from one of my favorite books that I think is very appropriate.
"It's a dangerous business going out your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to."
Until next time, be safe, be happy, and remember...