Quan Graham: Exploring the Chengdu Experience

Life in China already has a lot to offer; these two weeks have felt more like two months to me. I’m very interested in seeing how this experience will shape me by the time I come back home. China reminds me a lot of the city that never sleeps (New York); if you ever decide to walk the streets at any time, you’ll see that it’s still inhabited by many lively people. These people tend to be very friendly and are captured by the presence of Americans. There are a lot of things to get used to, but I enjoy the newness of everything because it makes everything more understandable and it welcomes you more into the culture. I tend to travel around the city with some friends from the study abroad group, but I also make time for myself because that is very important.

A typical day for me starts with morning exercises in my room; I have yet to use the space around the city or its track field, but it’s on my list of things to do. I then read and make sure to document my experiences in China into my journal. I soon meditate on the balcony of my room to keep me peaceful and open to the new experiences to come. I then meet up with the others to get some lunch and if I have any classes I attend them afterward. The learning environment is one which makes it easy to engage with the teacher when there are questions you’re not too sure of. I also eat dinner with my fellow classmates and if everyone is free for the night we tend to roam in our leisure time, the real fun takes place during the weekends.

I always plan on experiencing something new to shape my experience, but a lot of the time it just happens naturally. The g-MEO staff makes understanding the culture very easy with their advice, availability, knowledge and the trips they take you on. I really want to work more on my Chinese, because there is a language barrier which prevents me from knowing certain things or traveling certain places by myself.

I’ve already started to miss the little things about home like the food and the simplicity, but it never hits me too hard. I know I’m here to make myself home and educate myself on a culture I’m willing to learn more about. I sometimes forget that I’m even here and when it occurs to me that I am, I feel proud that I was able to experience an opportunity like this at such a young age. I feel very independent and I know that through all of this that I’m becoming a better individual. I plan on interacting more with the locals and becoming close with them. I feel that we both have a lot to offer each other with valuable knowledge to experience. This is just the beginning of it all; I’ll be taking everything in one day at a time.

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