Ivan Ilic: My China Experience

I cannot even fathom the fact that I only have about thirty eight more days left in the beautiful city of Chengdu. It is scary to think about the fact that one day a few weeks from now I will have to depart from a city that I have been considering my home for the past month and a half. I have built so many relationships with people in our group that will last a life time and for that, I could not be any more thankful. I would have to say that the one reason my adventure in Chengdu has been nothing but great is because of the group of people here with me in Chengdu. Before embarking on this journey I had mixed feelings on what I should expect in China. The reality is much different from the image that I had in my head. Every student in the program has been nothing but respectful and willing to look after each other no matter what the circumstances were. The staff of the American Center have made this journey more than just another trip away from the family. Through the help of all the staff, they have made Chengdu feel like home. In a few weeks when we have to leave Chengdu, home will be a strange sight to many of us. There are many things I miss from back in the States but at the same time, if I had the opportunity to extend my stay in Chengdu, I would do it in a heartbeat. China has been a great experience and has made me grow as a person.

In the past week we were fortunate enough to have g-MEO sponsor a cultural excursion for us to visit the beautiful and historic city of Xi’an. Xi’an is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history which includes the Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang dynasties. Xi’an is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. It was very interesting to step away from everyday life and look at China through a historical aspect. Personally, my favorite part of the excursion to Xi’an was seeing the Terracotta Warriors. I have seen documentaries and pictures of this beautiful historic site but to be able to almost touch this rich piece of history is something I will remember for the rest of my life. The entire experience in Xi’an was amazing, from sitting on a train for sixteen hours, to looking out at the immense city from the twenty sixth floor of the hotel building. Although Xi’an was a great time, in the back of my head I was still missing something. I was looking forward to the night I got back and was at my home in Chengdu. I have gotten to know Chengdu like the back of my hand and being in such a foreign environment brought up mixed feelings. A part of me will always consider Chengdu home and I am sure that I will visit China again in the future even after this study abroad experience.

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